Five inmates at Silchar Central Jail have tested HIV positive recently. Satyendra Baisya, Jail Superintendent informed that two inmates and three under trial tested positive and the remaining are going through mandatory testing.
Elsewhere, 88 under trial prisoners in Nagaon district had tested positive for HIV earlier this month. The government had ordered authorities to conduct mandatory testing in other jails.
Talking about the two convicts who tested positive, one of whom was a truck driver, while the other was a resident of Manipur, Mr. Baisya said, “Truck drivers don’t take protective measures. The truck driver who was lodged here was positive. The other convict who later also tested positive, and who hails from Manipur, told us that he made unsafe contact with the truck driver”.
Talking about the other three under-trial prisoners, Mr. Baisya added that they were drug addicts who used to share syringes, saying, “Two of the three under-trial prisoners have been sent to Silchar Medical College and Hospital”.
Ashutosh Barman, Joint director of health services of Assam’s Cachar district, said that two of the five inmates are going through antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment at Silchar Medical College and Hospital.
He said, “We have an AIDS control body that looks after the health issues of inmates. The team visits Silchar Central Jail every six months and conducts tests on the prisoners,” adding that they five who were found positive, were being kept separated from the other inmates.
Having visited the Silchar Central Jail, social activist Tuhina Biswas said, “HIV patients need to stay isolated first, which is not possible inside Silchar Central Jail. I would advise the district administration to improve hygiene inside the jail”.