The Ministry of Health (MOH) has received funding from a couple organizations in the US to provide prisoners with life saving treatment for HIV/AIDS.
According to a press release issued by the US Embassy, the initiative provides incarcerated persons living with HIV with a standard package of HIV treatment and related health services at the prisons. This will eliminate the cost and potential public safety risk of transporting prisoners to an external medical facility for treatment.
The outreach program is implemented once per month at one of the nation’s largest correctional facilities, housing over 400 inmates. Between April and November 2019, approximately 70 HIV- positive inmates from nine correctional facilities across Trinidad and Tobago benefited from the package of medical care, nursing and psychosocial services that ensured they received the treatment, care and support they needed to improve and maintain their health.
The MOH’s Medical Research Foundation (MRF) has received funding and support from the United States President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The MRF in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Prison Commissioner of the Ministry of National Security established an outreach program to increase access to treatment and care services for incarcerated persons living with HIV. The program also provides sexual and reproductive health education and counseling to ensure continuity of care after release back into the community.
Also during this period, the MRF reported a total of nine inmates who were newly diagnosed and were initiated on treatment within one week of diagnosis, and ninety percent (90%) of inmates receiving treatment over a six-month period showed suppressed levels of the virus in their bloodstream -ultimately reducing their risk of passing the virus to others.