TB ruling furthers prisoners’ rightsThe Constitutional Court this week handed down a judgement hailed by the Treatment Action Campaign as "a major step forward" for the protection of prisoners' rights of access to healthcare and dignity.
TB pressure for prisonsPrison authorities will be under considerable pressure to implement proper TB controls in prisons following the recent Constitutional Court ruling, said Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) yesterday.
Ex-con wins in ConCourtThe Constitutional Court yesterday ruled that the Minister of Correctional Services can be sued for dereliction of duty after a former inmate contracted TB while incarcerated in Pollsmoor Prison.
Dreary HIV reporting by TNAAn article in The New Age this week rattles off a list of HIV-related ambitions and advice in the form of various quotes collected during a TB and AIDS campaign held in the North West.
TNA ticks all the boxes
A featured article in The New Age (TNA) uncovers the SA prisons system’s secret scourge. Choruses of assenting and dissenting voices, broaching all aspects of the matter allow for an informative and balanced article.
The article opens by recounting one young man witnessing the rape of another in a Durban prison. This ‘hook’ not only draws the reader in through holding off on the hard facts but humanises the prisoner, successfully bringing a society’s cast offs into the public consciousness as living breathing human beings who are capable of pity and fear.
Through the narrative device the article clearly communicates that male rape is wrong because it represents the violation of a living, breathing and feeling human being. But in providing the context of HIV, the writer shows that sexual assault in prisons gains an added dimension as a deadly biological threat which extends beyond prison walls.
The Sowetan’s borderline-pornographic coverage of police officers bonking (in their words) certainly has, as the editor predicted, got the nation talking.
But forget drawing any real attention to police negligence or failures of the system, the gratuitous material got tongues wagging about one thing more than any other - sex.
And this is not necessarily a bad thing. In the context of our HIV epidemic, it is about time we have a public and open debate about sex and particularly about risky sex.
But this is not it.
The New Age (TNA) has reported that Leeuwkop prison now has a clinic, which provides HIV counseling and testing, antiretroviral treatment (ARV) and monitoring, as well as other primary healthcare services.
Previously prisoners had to travel long distances to access these services and collect their treatment. Given that HIV prevalence among South Africa’s prison population is standing at roughly 40%, the prospect of more readily available treatment certainly is good news.
But as the adage goes, prevention is always better than cure – a truism the prison system might be overlooking.
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