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Incarcerated individuals often have significantly higher rates of STDs and HIV than the general population. Upon their release, these individuals may spread their infections to more people, contributing to what many call an epidemic of sexually transmitted infections.
In an effort to combat this situation, the National Institutes of Health recently awarded several grants to groups who are looking to extend HIV and STD testing to more prisoners across the country, and help them seek treatment for their conditions.
"We hope this effort will lead to decreased HIV/AIDS-related illness and death among those in the criminal justice system, as well as decrease HIV transmission in the community at-large, making an important impact on public health," said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
During the programs, researchers will seek to determine which methods of HIV testing are most effective at reducing the transmission of infections, and work to identify ways of tracking individuals who have tested positive for diseases.
The programs will enter prisons in Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, North Carolina Wisconsin and Texas and run for a period of five years.
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