Report blasts HIV care in Homeland Security detention

In a 71-page report released on Dec. 7, Human Rights Watch urged the Department of Homeland Security to upgrade its care and treatment of immigration detainees with HIV, the virus associated with AIDS. According to the watchdog organization, the agency fails to monitor medical care for detainees with HIV, and doesn’t even know the extent of the problem among the nearly 30,000 people it holds in immigration detention on any given day. “The US government has no idea how many of these immigrants have HIV or AIDS, how many need treatment, and how many are receiving the care that is necessary,” said Megan McLemore of Human Rights Watch’s HIV/AIDS program.

The report, “Chronic Indifference: HIV/AIDS Services for Immigrants Detained by the United States,” documents the experiences of HIV-positive immigration detainees whose HIV treatment was denied, delayed, or interrupted, resulting in serious risk and often damage to their health. Among other cases, it highlights that of Victoria Arellano, a 23-year-old HIV-positive transgendered detainee who died in immigration custody in July 2007 after being detained for eight weeks at a detention center in San Pedro, California. (HRW press release, Dec. 7)

From Immigration News Briefs, Dec. 9

See our last posts on the immigration crackdown.