Alabama becomes last state to segregate HIV-postive inmates - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Alabama becomes last state to segregate HIV-postive inmates

Posted: Updated:
  • NEWSMore>>

  • More details: Double homicide suspect turns himself in

    More details: Double homicide suspect turns himself in

    Thursday, August 28 2014 12:49 AM EDT2014-08-28 04:49:04 GMT
    Attorney William Kendrick said his client Brandon Conner, 35, has expressed his feelings about the awful incident that's happened to his son and girlfriend. It's a horrible crime he's now accused of commMore >>
    Attorney William Kendrick said his client Brandon Conner, 35, has expressed his feelings about the awful incident that's happened to his son and girlfriend. It's a horrible crime he's now accused of committing.More >>
  • Suspect leads police on chase in stolen car

    Suspect leads police on chase in stolen car

    Thursday, August 28 2014 12:43 AM EDT2014-08-28 04:43:05 GMT
    Police in east Alabama are searching for a suspect caught on camera stealing a car on August 8. The suspect also led police on a chase that started at the Circle K gas station on 2nd Avenue in Opelika.More >>
    Police in east Alabama are searching for a suspect caught on camera stealing a car on August 8. The suspect also led police on a chase that started at the Circle K gas station on 2nd Avenue in Opelika. More >>
  • Teen shooting suspect turns himself in

    Teen shooting suspect turns himself in

    Thursday, August 28 2014 12:39 AM EDT2014-08-28 04:39:04 GMT
    A suspect sought in connection to a murder and accused of shooting at three Columbus teens has turned himself in to police. Columbus police tell us 18-year-old Terrance Streeter, also known as Worm, turnMore >>
    A suspect sought in connection to a murder and accused of shooting at three Columbus teens has turned himself in to police. Columbus police tell us 18-year-old Terrance Streeter, also known as Worm, turned himself in to police around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday.More >>

South Carolina's prisons announced Wednesday, July 10, they are ending a policy of segregating HIV-positive inmates.

This leaves Alabama as the only state in the nation to isolate inmates who are HIV-positive, depriving them of access to basic social and human contact.

"HIV is not an airborne illness. You can't even contract the virus after eating after because after that HIV virus becomes airborne, it dies within 30 to 45 seconds," explains Marilyn Swyers, Executive Director of the Unity Wellness Center.

HIV is spread by dirty needles, blood to blood contact and sexual activity.

The epidemic is over 30 years old and science is proving treatment is prevention.

"Those medications, when they reduce the viral load, they're 97 percent less likely to spread to someone else if your viral load is undetectable, so that is one reason we say segregation is not necessary," says Swyers.

A federal judge ordered Alabama to end the practice in December of 2012, following a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

We contacted the Alabama Department of Corrections to see where they stood in the process and they told us, "The case is still in mediation and we are working with plaintiffs to resolve."

On a local level, Lee County is one step ahead of the game with a protocol that integrates HIV-positive inmates with the rest of the jail population, treating them like any other prisoner unless there is a reason not to.

"They are treated as any just as any inmate would be treated. If they develop any symptoms, if they fall ill, then certainly as we would any inmate, we would address those issues and provide medical treatment," explains Lee County Sheriff, Jay Jones.

The Unity Wellness Center works closely with the state prisons are made aware when an HIV-positive inmate will be released back into the community.

"We're contacted, we have all of their information for their medical records, says Swyers, "They're, linked to our organization so then we can pick up and help them continue they're treatment."

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved. 

Powered by WorldNow

1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, Ga. 31906

FCC Public File
publicfile@wtvm.com
706-494-5400
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WTVM. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.