Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Senate Passes Bill Requiring HIV Testing in Prisons

The state Senate passed a bill today that requires HIV testing for inmates before being released from state prisons.

Right now, Georgia law already requires HIV testing when inmates enter the prison system.

But Democratic Senator Kasim Reed says he wants to protect people who are around those infected with the virus once released from jail. He says knowledge is power.

"The data suggests that when people know their status, they change their behavior."

But some lawmakers, like Republican Senator John Douglas, question whether testing inmates who go back into the community will protect others.

"Once these people are released from prison, there is no, there is nothing to force them to tell their partner that they have HIV."

The AIDS tests, which cost about $4.00, would not be required unless the state decides to fund them. The bill now goes to the House.

Click on the player below to hear this story.

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