The Ghaziabad administration in the National Capital Region (NCR) has gone into a tizzy almost 50 inmates of Dasna Jail in the city found to be “reactive” to HIV tests. According to a source in the Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society (UPSACS), several inmates have reacted to the HIV screenings done inside the jail. Though he did not confirm the figures, other sources told this newspaper that the number is between 40 and 50.
The sources said that these were found when UPSACS organised health camps to check cases of tuberculosis (TB), AIDS, etc. These health camps are organised for diseases that can be screened through field laboratories, with the help of mobile pathology kits.
The camp at Dasna Jail was conducted for all 3,550 inmates earlier this month. The initial reports revealed at least 17 inmates reacting to the tests, while this week’s results found around 30 more convicts reacting to the tests. These reactive samples have been sent for the next round of testing that will confirm how many of them are positive, said the sources. When contacted, Dasna Jail superintendent, S.P. Yadav said, “We have sent the test samples to a laboratory, but the results are still awaited. I cannot say how many convicts could be positive, since we have not seen the final test reports yet.” On the number of patients, he said, “I have heard about the speculation that there are many convicts who are HIV positive, but we cannot be sure yet.”
The health camps are being conducted by the jail authorities as per the order of the state government to medically screen all inmates who have been in jail for more than 15 days.
Last year in June, a 40-year-old inmate of Dasna Jail, Manoj, died because of HIV-related complications after he was admitted at the MMG hospital in Ghaziabad. Following the incident, S.P. Yadav had underlined the need to improve medical facilities in the jail, which lacks the infrastructure for healthcare and has an acute shortage of doctors and paramedical staff to attend to more than 3,000 inmates in a jail whose actual capacity is just 1,700.