Twenty-four prisoners have tested positive to HIV in the last four months at the Gorakhpur District Jail. The matter came to light when a blood donation camp began at the jail in October, last year. So far, those who have tested positive include 21 undertrials and three convicts, including a woman. Most of them have been jailed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, said jail superintendent Ram Dhani.
“While the woman is in jail since March 2014, 16 had come here in 2016 and 2017. Seven others were lodged in jail during the last two months,” he added. The jail administration, however, claimed that the disease did not spread inside the jail and prisoners were already infected when they arrived. “In October last year, on the initiative of Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society, a camp was started to conduct blood tests on prisoners to detect HIV. Of the 2,000-odd prisoners, over half have been tested,” said Gorakhpur Range DIG (Jail) Yadvendra Shukla.
“So far, 24 prisoners have been tested HIV positive. They are being treated at Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur,” he added. When contacted, Additional Inspector General (Prisons) Sharad Kulshrestha said Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society regularly conducts blood tests on prisoners to detect HIV. “In tests conducted at 70 jails of UP till December, last year, 265 prisoners have tested HIV positive,” he added. The cases have been reported from ranges such as Bareilly, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Faizabad, Agra, Meerut, Varanasi and Kanpur.