On 30 June, STOPAIDS members presented on HIV in prisons at the Ministry of Justice. Around 25 officials attended from MOJ, FCO, DFID and PHE. The session gave an overview of the issues prisoners face, both in the UK and internationally, related to HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. Members drew on lessons learnt throughout their work and made connections between the UK and international experiences, offering recommendations for future policy direction.
Gen Sander and Rick Lines (Harm Reduction International)
Harm Reduction International (HRI) are currently leading a project called Improving Prison Conditions by Strengthening Infectious Disease Monitoring which aims to reduce ill treatment of people in detention and improve prison conditions through more comprehensive and standardised monitoring of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), tuberculosis (TB) and harm reduction. Part of this project involved mapping the current situation relating to HIV, HCV, TB and harm reduction in prisons in seven European countries (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal and Spain) and developing a user friendly tool for monitoring HIV, HCV, TB and harm reduction in prisons.
Clive Ingleby (VSO)
Prison health is critical as an advocacy issue for VSO since research has shown that whilst prisons have higher rates of HIV infection, there is yet little access to treatment and testing. There are legal instruments that countries in Southern Africa have ratified like SADC minimum standards for prisons, however, the countries in the region are not implementing them. Clive will present on VSO’s work in Southern Africa working to secure prisoners access to sexual and reproductive and HIV services in prisons. VSO is leading on areas including prisoner rehabilitation, nutrition, advocacy with parliamentarians and supporting national prisons decision making structures to include the voice of ex-offenders.
Sophie Strachan (Sophia Forum)
Sophie has worked in the voluntary sector providing peer support in a number of prisons over the last decade. Sophie was the co- author of Positively UK’s HIV Behind Bars report researching ‘Are the Health and Social Care needs of HIV people prisons being met’, which reported high levels of stigma in the prison estate, preventing testing, accessing peer support and disclosure of their status. Sophie sits as an advisory member (Patient Voice) with The Blood Borne Virus Task and Finish Group and the Clinical Reference Group for Health & Justice within NHS England. Sophie has spent the last two years as a lay member of the guideline development group around physical health in prisons through the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Sophie sits on 3 global advisory groups advocating for the needs of people in prison with HIV and drug users.