Press Releases

For information only - not an official document

UNIS/INF/377
13 July 2010

MEDIA STATEMENT/INVITATION - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Knowing your Epidemic:
UNODC to Launch "Toolkit for HIV Situation and Needs Assessment in Prison Settings"
at 2010 International AIDS Conference

VIENNA, 13 July (UN Information Service) - HIV represents a significant challenge for the 30 million people worldwide who spend time in detention each year. While it is known that prevalence rates of HIV, TB and Hepatitis C and B infections are significantly higher among prison populations than within the community, the extent of the problem is not well documented and therefore national services are not always aligned to the needs of prisoners and prison staff. In response to this, UNODC is launching the "Toolkit for HIV Situation and Needs Assessment in Prisons" at AIDS 2010 to support and guide Governments in conducting situational and needs assessments for the design and implementation of effective HIV intervention programmes. The session will be moderated by Christian Kroll, Global Coordinator for HIV and AIDS at UNODC, and will include speakers from WHO, UNAIDS and EMCDDA: Dr Andrew Ball, Senior Strategy and Operations Advisor Department of HIV/AIDS at WHO, Fabienne Hariga, Expert HIV at UNODC, Dr Bernhard Schwartländer, Director, Evidence, Strategy and Results Department at UNAIDS and Lucas Wiessing, Principal Scientist Infectious Diseases at the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon.

Rates of HIV and other infectious diseases are not only higher among prison populations, but are also easily spread among the general population due to a high degree of mobility between prisons and the community. Despite this, there is a serious lack of prevention, treatment and care for HIV and other infectious diseases within prison settings. Comprehensive HIV care should be accessible for all prisoners in the form of prevention, voluntary counselling and testing, antiretroviral treatment when necessary, prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections, as well as support. Not only prisoners, but also prison staff are at risk of being infected with HIV, TB and Hepatitis.

UNODC will launch the "Toolkit for HIV Situation and Needs Assessment in Prisons", which provides information and guidance to conduct situation and needs assessments for prevention and treatment of HIV infection and TB in prisons. Governments will be enabled to set more specific targets for achieving universal access for prisoners evidence-based HIV prevention, treatment, care and support interventions, tailored to the reality of prisoners and prison staff. The toolkit is based on the facts that good prisoner health means good public health and that this is essential for effective custodial management and non-discriminatory health care.

Date: 21 July 2010
Time: 13:00 - 14:00
Venue: AIDS 2010 Media Centre, Hall A, Press Conference Room 2

Please note: Participants have to be registered for the conference in advance!

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UNODC is the lead agency within UNAIDS for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for injecting drug users and in prison settings. For more information visit www.unodc.org/AIDS

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For information contact:

Fabienne Hariga
UNODC HIV/AIDS Unit
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-4292
Email: fabienne.hariga@unodc.org