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Routinely administering HIV tests to prison inmates could have a dramatic impact on curbing the spread of the sexually transmitted disease, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The analysis found that many individuals become infected with the incurable disease without knowing it while they are in prison, and then spread HIV to the rest of the population once their sentence is over.
Researchers from Brown University administered HIV tests to newly-incarcerated inmates during an eight-week period. They discovered 170 new cases during this time, representing 15 percent of all newly-diagnosed infections during this period.
Curt Beckwith, who led the study said that many people in the prison system are at a higher risk for HIV and that testing could help stop the spread from these individuals to a wider population.
"Jails and correctional facilities provide a golden opportunity to offer HIV testing to a population that is hard-to-reach and at increased risk of infection," says Beckwith. "Expansion of HIV testing within jails has the potential to increase HIV diagnoses and make more people aware of their HIV status."
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