Congresswoman Waters Introduces the Stop AIDS in Prison Act
Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-35) introduced H.R. 1943, the Stop AIDS in Prison Act of 2007. This bill requires routine HIV testing for all federal prison inmates upon entry and prior to release from Federal Bureau of Prison facilities. The bill also requires HIV/AIDS awareness education for all inmates and comprehensive treatment for those inmates who test positive.
"The Stop AIDS in Prison Act will help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among prison inmates, encourage them to take personal responsibility for their health, and reduce the risk that they will transmit HIV/AIDS to other persons in the community following their release from prison," said Congresswoman Waters.
Original cosponsors of the Stop AIDS in Prison Act include Rep. John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Lamar S. Smith, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Robert C. Scott, Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over federal prisons; and Rep. Randy Forbes, Ranking Member of that subcommittee.
"I am honored to have the support of Judiciary Committee leadership for the Stop AIDS in Prison Act, and I look forward to working with the House leadership to pass it," said the Congresswoman.
"I am pleased to be a cosponsor of this important legislation. It is an important part of the effort to prevent the spread AIDS in prison and in the greater society by offenders once they leave prison. I look forward to working with Congresswoman Waters, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the full committee and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, in moving this legislation through the Congress," said Congressman Scott.
The Stop AIDS in Prison Act is one of several legislative initiatives Congresswoman Waters is pursuing to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 110th Congress. In February, she introduced H.R.822, the Routine HIV/AIDS Screening Coverage Act, a bill to require health insurance plans to cover routine HIV tests under the same terms and conditions as other routine health screenings. H.R. 822 now has 38 cosponsors.
Congresswoman Waters also is continuing her efforts to expand the Minority AIDS Initiative, which was established under her leadership in 1998 to improve HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in minority communities. On March 16, she sent a letter to Appropriations Committee leaders requesting an appropriation of $610 million for the Minority AIDS Initiative in fiscal year 2008. A bipartisan group of 45 Members of Congress signed her letter. Additional Members have agreed to sign a follow-up letter.