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The jail currently houses 800 inmates. [Photo: DW]
Almost 300 of Quelimane jail’s 800 inmates are HIV positive. Prison officials say prisoners are benefiting from antiretroviral treatment.
Quelimane prison officials say that new HIV infections are detected weekly in the jail, forcing the penitentiary to redouble its efforts to halt the phenomenon. Still, for prison director José Manuel, the situation is very worrying.
Manuel says some prisoners arrive at the jail with health problems, including HIV.
“We are controlling [HIV] with antiretroviral treatment, but we also have malaria and diarrhoea,” the man responsible for Quelimane prison says. But what is currently frightening him most “is the prevalence of HIV”.
A medical centre to curb cases
To address the situation, a medical centre has been set up in prison to assist patients on an ongoing basis, including testing and providing antiretrovirals and other medicines for associated diseases such as tuberculosis.
Filipe Vicente, secretary of the Provincial AIDS Centre, says that Zambézia has the highest rates of the disease in all of Mozambique, speaking of 28,000 new infections a year and more than 300,000 people living with HIV/Aids.
“The numbers already indicate what the situation in the province is. That is why we need to accelerate actions to combat this disease from civil society, other organisations, and the communities,” Vicente says.
Mozambique’s Deputy Attorney General, Lucia Maximiano, recently visited the prison and acknowledged that health and accommodation conditions were not ideal.
“These are not the conditions the state would really like to give you. These are the conditions which are possible. But you can help improve the conditions you have been given,” she clarified.
Figures from the National AIDS Council indicate that, in 2018, there were about 2.2 million people with HIV in Mozambique, 1.2 million of them were on treatment.Source: Deutsche Welle
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