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December 1, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Prison works well for inmates

THIS is a prison with a difference.

Wang Yong is a 44-year-old AIDS patient who is serving time at the Shanghai Prison Central Hospital.

Wang and more than 10 other inmates receive treatment, including HAART, a synonym for Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, or "cocktail" therapy.

This hospital provides health care, disease prevention, drug rehabilitation and health checkup for criminals and suspects in Shanghai.

A homosexual, Wang was infected with HIV in 2003. He was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in 2008 for murdering his mate after a quarrel. Wang said he was rejected by several hospitals when he got sick before receiving treatment behind bars.

Wang praised the prison doctors who, he said, treated him as a friend, which was in sharp contrast to his previous experiences at the hospitals.

"There is no discrimination from doctors in the prison. The doctors here tried everything they can to save our lives even at the cost of their own lives," Wang said.

"I was deeply moved when I learnt that the prison hospital president saved one of us by performing an operation to remove a lipoma. It is risky in case of infection," he said.

Wang also does not have to worry about the medical expenses, which are all covered by the government.

Qiu Yongsheng, chief doctor at the hospital, said doctors shouldn't refuse AIDS patients.

Last month, an HIV carrier in north China's Tianjin City concealed his condition to have an operation for lung cancer, triggering a heated online debate over morality and discrimination.

Having operated on many AIDS inmates, Qiu said he had no fear in his mind as it was his job. The hospital has also performed surgery to treat hemorrhoids or remove subdermal cysts for AIDS inmates.

Since 2005, the prison hospital has handled several hundred AIDS inmates, mostly drug users and gays. Three of them died in the hospital with advanced case of AIDS while a few others left the cell after serving their terms.

Yesterday, Wang and other inmates treated visitors, who were invited by prison officials, with chorus and tai chi. Among the visitors were his foster parents. The meeting was an exception as the prison regulation states that the family could only meet the inmates once a month.


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