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Settlement requires Alabama prison to revise HIV care

Settlement requires Alabama prison to revise HIV care

The Alabama Department of Corrections has settled a lawsuit filed by HIV-positive inmates who claimed they were given inadequate medical care at Limestone state prison. The settlement was approved Wednesday in Birmingham after months of negotiations. The settlement requires DOC's medical provider to hire a full-time nurse to serve as an HIV coordinator charged with directing an infection-control program and arranging medical care for HIV-positive prisoners--including monitoring treatment progress and educating the men on HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. Prison Health Services, DOC's current medical provider, already has an HIV specialist and physicians treating Limestone's HIV-positive prisoners. After four prisoners filed the suit in Birmingham's federal district court, DOC switched from its previous provider, NaphCare, to PHS. The court has since dropped NaphCare as a defendant. DOC and attorneys from the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights, who represented the plaintiffs' interests in the settlement, also appointed an independent medical consultant, Joseph Dick, to review the inmates' medical, living, and nutritional conditions. Dick, experienced in correctional health care and HIV, will tour the prison four times a year for two years. The settlement also prohibits DOC from housing HIV-positive inmates in dormitories or warehouses and mandates that the department clean the inmates' cells. (AP)

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