The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)has released a study indicating that the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) among inmates of Nigerian prisons was 2.8 per cent, compared to 1.4 per cent reported in the general population.
UNODC Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Oliver Stolpe, said the study was conducted in partnership with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, the Nigerian Prisons Service and Heartland Alliance International.
Stolpe added that financial support was also provided by the United Nations, the European Union and the US Agency for International Development.
A total of 2,511 people in prisons were said to have participated in the study which majority were male (92 per cent). About 50 per cent of the respondents were reportedly aged 25 to 35 years, 95 per cent were Nigerians and about two-fifths had secondary level education.
Seventy-five per cent of the respondents were said to have been employed prior to being incarcerated and about two-thirds were single. The study reportedly covered 12 prisons across the six geopolitical zones.
Stolpe stated, “I couldn’t think of a more appropriate day to launch this study (as we) have an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, otherwise known as the Nelson Mandela Rules. These rules dedicate an entire chapter to the rights of prisoners to adequate health care (Rules 24-35). More specifically, Rule 24 states that ‘health care for prisoners is a state responsibility’ and that ‘prisoners should enjoy the same standards for health care that are available in the community.’ The study, which we are presenting today, concluded that HIV prevalence among people in prisons was 2.8 per cent, which is double the rate within the general population — 1.4 per cent. The distribution between males and females follows a similar pattern as that of he general population, in which HIV prevalence was higher among women than among men.”
According to the report, HIV prevalence was 6.9 per cent among female prisoners and 2.7 per cent among males.