Louisiana’s incarceration rate is around double the national average in the US, the world’s most incarcerated country. The state’s parish jails hold about 30,000 people at any one time.

9 Nov 2016

“I was in there approximately 44 days before I received my first pill,” says Marvin Aguillard in this Human Rights Watch video. He’s talking about how he was denied his HIV medication while in parish jail (the equivalent of county) in Louisiana. Aguillard developed resistance to his medication due to its being withheld. He began experiencing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, yet was not permitted to see a doctor until he was released after seven months. 

“The same people who are very heavily policed in this society—people who use drugs, sex workers, African Americans, Latinos—people who are disproportionately represented in jails, are also disproportionately burdened by HIV,” says Megan McLemore, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It’s very important with HIV that you stay on your medication regimen and that you take it every day.”

Yet this human and legal right is consistently denied. In the video, a number of formerly incarcerated people and experts speak about this situation and how it should be improved.

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