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DOJ: inmate HIV rate down

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DOJ: inmate HIV rate down

The HIV rate among state and federal inmates is at its lowest point since 1991, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

The agency said the number of prisoners in state and federal facilities who have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) dropped from 17,680 prisoners in 1991 to 17,150 prisoners by the end of 2015. In 1998, DOJ said the HIV rate peaked at 25,980 inmates.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics also found that, from 2010 to 2015, the number of male prisoners who had HIV declined by 14 percent, while the number of female prisoners who had HIV declined by 31 percent. 

The number of AIDS-related deaths among state prisoners dropped from 73 deaths in 2010 to a preliminary count of 45 deaths in 2015. The number of AIDS-related deaths among federal prisoners has been less than 10 each year between 2010 and 2015, according to DOJ.

The department said about 15 states reported testing prisoners for HIV whether or not they consented to the tests, while 17 states allowed inmates to decline the tests as of 2015. DOJ said about two-thirds of new prison inmates were in states that conducted either mandatory or opt-out testing during the admission process.

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