Senator Jones Passes Bill to Reduce HIV Rates Among Inmates

Springfield, IL - Today, State Senator Emil Jones (D-Chicago) passed legislation that will give the Illinois Department of Corrections and Cook County Jail the option of implementing opt-out HIV testing. Under opt-out HIV testing individuals are informed that they will be tested for HIV unless they refuse.


May 17, 2011                                          Larry Luster 217-782-0907
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Opt-out HIV testing has maintained a record of success when implemented in other prisons. In a North Carolina prison, the opt-out HIV testing increased testing rates from 57% to 91%. Opt- out testing is recommended the by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is allowed everywhere in Illinois except in prisons.

“Indentifying inmates with HIV will allow them to connect to community-based services that will stabilize their lives when they are released,” Jones said. “This legislation will reduce their likelihood of transmitting HIV to others.”

House Bill 1748 will ensure that inmates receive full HIV pre-test information. Testing must be conducted by medical staff to ensure testing is not coercive.

“Rates of HIV in prisons are alarmingly high,” Jones said. “Expanded HIV testing will promote early intervention and reduce the number of inmates who develop a costly AIDS diagnosis.”

HIV rates among inmates are 2-3 times higher than among those in the community. As many as 250 inmates may have HIV but don’t know it, leading to poor health and HIV transmission when they are released.

HB 1748 now goes to the Governors office for further consideration


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