Access to Healthcare for Prisoners

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Prisoners affected with AIDS/HIV Vis-a-Vis their accessibility to health care
In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties. - Henri-Frederic Amiel 1828-1881 The right to health is an comprehensive right. We usually associate the right to health with access to health care and for the building of hospitals, but the right extends further and includes a wide range of factors like safe food, safe drinking water, healthy working environmental conditions etc can help to lead a healthy life. The right to health also contains entitlements like equality of opportunity for health care, access to essential medicines.etc. All these services, goods and facilities are to be made available, acceptable an d of good quality without discrimination. HIV or Human Immuno deficiency Virus has emerged as a serious threat to the life of human beings in recent years. This HIV which had eventually lead to AIDS, both had posed a major challenge not only to modern medical field but is also a serious public challenge. The situation of HIV/AIDS in the prison is an issue which is often ignored and neglected. The levels of HIV infection among prison populations tend to be much higher than in the population outside prisons. Inside prisons, the primary risk behaviors for the transmission of HIV are the sharing of injecting equipment and unprotected sex. Within the prison environment, additional risk factors can include the sharing or the reuse of tattooing and body piercing equipment, the sharing of razors for shaving, and the improper sterilization or reuse of medical or dental instruments. Substandard conditions can also complicate or undermine the implementation of effective responses to HIV/AIDS by prison staff. Therefore, action to prevent the spread of HIV infection in prisons and to provide heath service to prisoners who are living with HIV/AIDS is integral to, and is to be enhanced by broader efforts to improve prison condition. This paper looks into the accessibility of health care facilities to the prisoners who are contacted with AIDS/HIV. The delivery of health services to prisoners is influenced by actions which are taken or not taken at a variety of decision-making levels ie, from individual prison staff to national governments and international assemblies. This framework therefore outlines guiding principles, recommendations for action, and implementation guidelines intended for the attention of all relevant stakeholders. In different countries, the power to change prison legislation, policy, and programs rests with different authorities ; in some cases government, in others senior prison officials, and in others local prison management. In some countries, changing prison legislation, policy, and programs requires action by several levels of authority for implementing responses to HIV/AIDS in prisons. Every country’s response to HIV/AIDS in prisons is influenced by economic and social conditions, as well as by cultural, social, and religious traditions. However, these national and local conditions do not reduce or negate government obligation to meet recognized international prison, health, and human rights standards. International law is clear that a lack of resources does not excuse a State from its obligations to provide proper and humane prison conditions.

International human rights law and related norms
Under international norms, prisoners enjoy all human rights except those they are necessarily deprived of as a fact of incarceration. There are two general categories of instruments that protect human rights. Each poses different obligations on governments. International human rights law is binding on governments. International rules, standards, and guidelines are not law and therefore not binding on the government International human rights laws

International human rights laws (for example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the...
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