A drive conducted in the prisons across Uttar Pradesh has found 459 inmates HIV positive. The joint drive, a joint operation of state Prisons Administration and Reforms Services and UP State AIDS Control Society, was launched last month and is still underway.
As per the records, available till March 21, blood test (finger prick) was conducted on 78,739 prisoners of which 559 were found reactive. Of them, 479 inmates were detected for the first time. These prisoners further underwent confirmatory three-kit tests to check if the are HIV positive. As per the report available so far, 459 inmates have been tested HIV positive. Report of other inmates are still awaited.
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Lucknow prison, comprising Lucknow district jail, Nari Bandi Niketan and Model jail, tops the list with 49 HIV positive inmates followed by Ghaziabad and Moradabad district jails with 46 and 33 HIV positive inmates, respectively. Twenty-one inmates at Naini and 24 at Aligarh district jails were also detected HIV positive.
Of the total 459 HIV positives inmates, the officials have started Antiretroviral treatment (ART) of 69, as per the report.
Earlier, on March 16, when the list was compiled, the total number of HIV positive inmates was pegged at 406. At that time, the test had been conducted on 78,057 inmates of which 563 were found reactive.
A senior jail official said they are facing problems as several inmates have refused to go for the blood test. The state prison department has now begun the process of trying to motivate the remaining 11,166 inmates to go for blood test promising that if the disease is detected they will be provided free treatment.
Muzaffarnagar district jail tops the list where 1,455 inmates refused to go for the test. Inmates at Kanpur (480), Azamgarh (455), Ballia (356), Jaunpur (330), Unnao (267), and Agra (289) district jails have also refused to go for the test.
Contacted, IG, Prisons, Dr Devendra Singh Chauhan said the drive is still underway and they are trying to motivate the prisoners who had refused to undergo the blood test.
As per jail records, till last year, 163 inmates were HIV positive of the then strength of 89,885 prisoners in UP jails.