With HIV rates on the rise in Milwaukee, there’s a proposal to mandate testing as state inmates are released from prison. Doctor Patricia McManus with the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin noted that African Americans account for more than fifty percent of the state’s adult prison population, and that inmates in general, and black man in particular, usually don’t talk about sexual contacts they may have while in prison. “They won’t tell what their activities are,” McManus said. “There are people who do not see themselves as a homosexual or as gay, and some are not, they engage in it for a number of reasons.” 

Dr. Patricia McManus (5:30 MP3)  AUDIO: Dr. Patricia McManus (5:30 MP3)

McManus said the mandatory testing proposed by Milwaukee Democrat, state Representative Barbara Toles, would help to control the rate of HIV infections in the black community. The bill (AB 750) would also require that inmates on extended supervision be tested six to seven months after their release. But William Groshans with the Department of Corrections questioned the cost effectiveness of such testing. “In 2007, DOC and the Department of Health Services conducted an analysis to determine how many additional cases of HIV would be identified with mandatory testing before release,” said Groshans. The results showed that only five to ten additional positive HIV tests would result. Groshans said DOC already offers inmates HIV testing twice a year, and that the agency estimates the cost of testing the 8900 inmates released each year would be more than $1.5 million.

William Groshans (5:15 MP3)  AUDIO: William Groshans (5:15 MP3)

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