State News

HIV testing to be part of prison inmates' health screening

Posted September 25, 2008 8:46 a.m. EDT
Updated September 25, 2008 1:45 p.m. EDT

— The North Carolina Department of Correction will begin in November screening prison inmates for the virus that causes AIDS.

Correction Department spokesman Keith Acree said Thursday that the testing will be part of a prisoner's routine screening when he or she is admitted to the system or when current inmates get an annual physical.

But the policy does not require prisoners to submit to the screening, Acree said, and they can opt out of testing.

Until now, inmates have had to request an HIV test to get one.

The move to screen for HIV comes after pressure from public health officials, lawmakers and black religious leaders.

Dr. Peter Leone with the North Carolina Division of Public Health said the testing is a moral imperative for prisoners and the public. He says the public must be concerned about inmates who are released from prison.