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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

No Mandatory HIV Testing of State Prisoners in Indiana

Indiana DOC officials estimate that approximately 1% of state inmates are HIV positive but do not know the exact number because Indiana does not have a mandatory testing law for inmates. Although a bill was passed by the state legislature last year that would require mandatory HIV and Hepatitis C Virus testing for all inmates, it was vetoed by the governor for budgetary reasons. This testing is estimated to cost $173,285 per year. HIV testing is available to inmates upon request. Experts recommend educating and counseling prisoners to be voluntarily tested for HIV and Hepatitis C Virus. (Indianapolis Star, 10/24/01)


Hepatitis C Virus Costs the U.S. $5 Billion in 1997

A study reports that in 1997, hepatitis C cost the U.S. approximately $5.46 billion in medical costs, lost wages, and lost home production. Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the U.S. These costs are on par with the cost of asthma in US for the same year ($5.8 billion). There are estimates that Hepatitis C Virus-related mortality could triple within the next twenty years, indicating that increased prevention, treatment, screening, and research are necessary. (Arch Int Med 2001; 161 (18): 2231-2237.)

Massachusetts Canceling Hepatitis C Programs

The Massachusetts state legislature plans to cut a program that teaches physicians and others at risk for hepatitis C about the disease due to a budget impasse. Although the Massachusetts state senate set aside $3.9 million for the program for fiscal year 2002 (which began on July 1, 2001) the House did not allocate any funding. According to a policy issued by the governor's office, agencies are to operate on a lower budget. The program provided counseling and education for those at risk for contracting hepatitis C and raised awareness of people who were unaware they were infected with Hepatitis C Virus. The cuts will affect education programs but will have no effect on treatment funding. Approximately 110,000 people in Massachusetts are estimated to be infected with Hepatitis C Virus. (Boston Herald, 10/5/01)