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Mexico's Prisoners Struggle and AIDS Drops in Malawi by 75%

Mexico's Prisoners Struggle and AIDS Drops in Malawi by 75%

While acceptance is growing in the United States, homosexual relationships in Mexico are still very taboo. Because of the stigma, Mexican prisoners with HIV or AIDS is really not a topic for discussion either, including prevention. In fact, many prison administrators deny that sex among inmates exists apart from specifically dedicated conjugal visits.

The prisoners certainly tell a different story. “We are a population of men, and it’s normal for men to have sex with whoever is around.” Ignorance and denial of this prison reality means that no scientific surveys of AIDS rates among prisoners exist. In fact, official statistics place the number of HIV-positive inmates in the capital’s prisons at a mere 62. There is no testing of the prisoner population and in many cases, convicts think that it is spread by mosquitoes, kisses, or even shared toothbrushes.

To find out what they're doing about it, and how similar methods have triumphed in Malawi,


An outreach effort is currently underway to raise awareness about HIV in Mexican prisons. In one of Latin America’s toughest prisons, Reclusorio Preventive Oriente, such a program has been allowed, but the warden demonstrates the real need for its implementation. According to him, “I don’t know the level of HIV in this prison. I think it’s minimal. It’s almost nothing.”

Meanwhile across the world, a country that is not only acknowledging that HIV is a problem, but is beginning to turn the tide, is the African nation of Malawi. There they have witnessed a 75 percent drop in AIDS-related deaths over the past four years. The reason? Free medicine that helps prolong the lives of those who have contracted the virus. Since March of 2008, the government has put 159,111 people on subsidized antiretroviral drugs and 106,547 are still alive today.

How can a stigma that exists as strongly as it does in Mexican prisons be erased so the education and care needed can be given? How can Mexico become more like Malawi?


Join The Conversation
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
That's great about AIDS in Malawi, I just hope Americans step up to the plate like they do for every other country in the world and address the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the Black/Brown communities........those communtities matter too!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i think that people are sometimes afraid of the reality of things if they acknowledge that it's going on and that's probably the case with the mexican prisons and all that. the government probably doesn't want to know the extent on which things are happening so they turn their heads - and as a result - HIV and things like that are increasing. i'm not sure that there's a real solution to all this since it's the penal system and it's usually the last to get support for any cause... as for the decline in HIV in Malawi - i think that it's a testament to what funding and medical assistance can do to a nation. if all they needed was free medical help to drop the rate of the disease by 75% in four years - then why hasn't this been considered elsewhere. it's obviously making a great impact for the better and we need to take notice and see what can be done in other countries (even our own...)
CAcyclegirl CAcyclegirl 8 years
The HIV problem that exists in Mexican prisons is not unique - in the U.S. we have a very similar problem. It is estimated that the HIV infection rate in prisons is 8x that of the rest of the population and yet there are very few HIV testing programs for prisoners and very few states that allow condoms to be distributed in prisons. In California we were successful in getting the Governor to ok a pilot program that will assess the feasibility and safety of distributing condoms to prisoners in one state prison but there is currently no routine HIV testing program in California prisons.
colleenb colleenb 8 years
What have you done with Citizen? Is this the high altitude talking?
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