The Yogi Adityanath govt has now directed the health department to conduct the blood test on prisoners lodged in different jails across the state.
Lucknow: Even as the Yogi Adityanath government tries to downplay the HIV scare in Uttar Pradesh jails, the problem is getting bigger by the day.
UP minister for jails, Jaikumar Jacky, said on Saturday that he was ‘worried’ about the HIV scare but added that “the problem is that when prisoners are brought into jails, there is no provision for detailed medical checkups. They undergo a basic medical checkup that focuses on injuries, blood pressure etc. We do not know whether inmates are bringing the HIV virus when they come from outside”.
According to reports, more and more prisoners are now contacting their family members and lawyers to put in bail applications on the grounds that their stay in jail may be detrimental to their health.
On Friday, 27 prisoners were found to be HIV positive in Dasna jail in Ghaziabad and 10 inmates also tested positive in Meerut jail.
Last month, 23 prisoners in Gorakhpur jail had also tested HIV positive which National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had issued a notice to the Yogi Adityanath government, seeking a detailed report within six weeks on steps taken to curb the deadly disease spreading to other inmates and treatment of affected inmates.
The state government ordered regular health checkups for inmates and it was during one such exercise that 27 prisoners, including a woman, were found to be HIV positive in Dasna jail and ten tested HIV positive in Meerut jail.
Chief medical officer of Meerut Dr Ram Kumar told reporters that they have already referred affected prisoners to ART Centre which is making arrangements for their treatment in the jail itself. He said that the jail hospital was also being given instructions regarding the care of these patients.
Jail officials, however, were unwilling to talk on the subject.
A retired jail superintendent, who had served in Pilibhit, Meerut, Varanasi and Naini jails, disclosed that “conditions in UP jails are fit for spread of HIV. Inmates, who are on drugs, use the same syringe multiple times and even on multiple people. The jail barber uses the same razor on a number of inmates. Condoms are not provided to inmates because the government believes that there is no sex behind the bars. Unless we accept the reality of the condition in our jails, there will be no improvement. Everyone knows that drugs are freely available to inmates but nobody accepts this”.
The Yogi Adityanath government has now directed the health department to conduct the blood test on prisoners lodged in different jails across the state.