Palm Beach County commission calls for mandatory HIV tests for inmates
BY Advocate.com Editors
July 12 2003 12:00 AM ET
Commissioners in Palm Beach County, Fla., on Tuesday agreed to lobby state lawmakers to pass a measure that would allow for mandatory HIV antibody testing for all inmates in the county jail, including those only charged with but not convicted of a crime, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. Commissioner Addie Greene, who is championing the drive to change the state law, said he believes testing all prisoners in the county will help stop the spread of HIV, particularly among minority groups. AIDS activists, however, say education and not mandatory testing of prisoners is the key to reducing HIV transmissions in the county. "Mandatory HIV testing is wrong. We don't believe in that," Ruth Gottlieb, chair of the Palm Beach chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Sun-Sentinel. Between 45,000 and 50,000 people each year are booked into the county jail, with about three quarters imprisoned while awaiting trial.