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Mississippi laws provide few resources for HIV testing and treatment, report says

Category: HIV

Mississippi laws provide few resources for HIV testing and treatment, report says   Despite the fact that more people receive positive HIV tests now than ever before, laws in some states prohibit effective prevention efforts and make it difficult for those who are infected to seek appropriate treatment, according to a new report from the group Human Rights Watch.

In particular, the laws of Mississippi regard HIV and AIDS are counterproductive, the report states. Children receive no education about the dangers of the infection in school, individuals can be prosecuted for failing to disclose the illness to sexual partners and state health agencies provide little or no assistance to help those who are infected access care.

"Many people living with HIV in Mississippi can't get to clinics, can't afford treatment, and can't keep a roof over their heads, while young people can't get essential information about how to protect themselves," said Megan McLemore, senior health researcher with the group.

She said that this issue goes beyond public health failures and threatens to take away fundamental rights to life and health among residents of the state. Mississippi has the highest HIV rate of any state in the Union.

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