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Street News Service/IPS Examine Challenges Of Fighting HIV/AIDS In A Senegalese Prison

Street News Service/Inter Press Service examines how Senegal is addressing HIV/AIDS among prisoners in a Dakar maximum-security facility. “Prisons are high-risk environments for the transmission of the disease, due to the prevalence of hard drugs, violence and sexual relations,” the news service writes and discusses how addressing such issues can present challenges in the majority-Muslim country. “There is no mandatory testing in prison, and for those prisoners who, either knowingly or unknowingly, are living with HIV, the stresses of living in prison — including overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and poor nutrition — mean their health is even more compromised.”

The news service profiles Amadou, a former inmate at the prison and “a prominent gay AIDS activist, helping promote harm-reduction strategies throughout the country.” The news service notes that while “Senegal has among the lowest rates of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, at less than one percent …, the most vulnerable group is men who have sex with men (MSM), nearly 22 percent of whom are HIV-positive” (Fortier, 1/5).