Former prisoners say they were denied HIV treatment

BY Mike Grippi

August 27 2005 12:00 AM ET

Two former
prisoners at the Passaic County Jail in New Jersey say they
were frequently denied treatment for their HIV infections,
resulting in lengthy gaps in therapy that could lead
to the development of drug-resistant virus, The
Record of Bergen County, N.J. reports. The
two men were jailed for immigration offenses. A
41-year-old Jamaican man who spent three months in
Passaic’s jail and a total of five years in
three different area prisons says his treatment lapses
were often linked to long delays in the transfer of his
medical records. Attorneys for the man say he was frequently
denied timely treatment and as a result has become
resistant to many anti-HIV drugs.

A 36-year-old man
from Guyana held for five months in the Passaic jail
says he missed nearly three weeks of antiretroviral therapy
when his medical records were delayed after he was
transferred to the prison from New York City’s
Rikers Island facility. He also says he faced delays in
receiving medical examinations at the jail and was denied
permission by guards to see the prison doctor.

Passaic County
sheriff Jerry Speziale says he had not heard about the
complaints from the two former prisoners, but he defended
the jail staff. “This is two people
you’re talking to me about, two people out of 1,700;
I think I’m doing pretty good,” Speziale told The
Record.

Tags: Health

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