ACLU Sues Over Alabama’s Segregation Of HIV-Positive Inmates

Alabama is facing a legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union today over the state’s practice of housing HIV-positive inmates separately from other prisoners. Alabama is the only state besides South Carolina that still segregates prisoners based on their HIV status. According to the Alabama Department of Corrections, about 270 inmates have tested positive for HIV out of the 26,400 total in the state’s prison system, and none has developed AIDS. The ACLU alleges that Alabama’s policy violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by treating HIV-positive individuals unfairly simply due to their HIV status, despite the fact that there is no evidence they are unable to safely cohabitate with prisoners who don’t have the virus. “It is based on an uneducated view on HIV and how it is transmitted, which really goes back to the dark ages of when it first started and there was hysteria,” ACLU attorney Margaret Winter said.