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Note equivalent to an Opinion regarding confidentiality in prison

National AIDS Council - July 8, 1996

Mise en ligne : 7 April 2003

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en français

The proportion of the prison population currently known to the medical services to be infected with HIV is still nearly 3%, ten times higher in the general population [1].

In its 1993 report, "Prison, sida et confidentialité", (Prison, AIDS and Confidentiality), the National AIDS Council recommended several measures aimed at promoting confidentiality : the continuation of the efforts already made to humanize the prison environment, and the implementation of specific training and information schemes for those living and working in the prison context.

In light of the present situation, the National AIDS Council considers it necessary to underline the unacceptable nature of any breach of confidentiality, irrespective of location or grounds.

In that regard, the National AIDS Council is insistent that an information telephone service for prisoners (as suggested by Sida Info Service in conjunction with the government’s Prisons Department) should be put in place on terms guaranteeing strict confidentiality for callers.

If a firm commitment were given by the Prisons Department to refrain from listening to or recording calls, the installation of this type of HIV/AIDS telephone information service [2] would have quite different results. 


[1] Hospital and penal administrative management, Survey, 1994

[2] The information will also concern tuberculosis, hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In the view of the National AIDS Council, use of this line should extend to all health problems arising in prison (notably psychiatric problems and drug addiction)