SEVENTEEN out of 1,658 persons deprived of liberty (PDL) from the male and female dormitories of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Mandaue City tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Jonathan Baltar, jail superintendent of BJMP Mandaue, said Monday, March 27, 2023, that the test was conducted this March, and of the 17, 15 were males and two were females.

Thirteen of the HIV-positive PDLs are housed at the BJMP Mandaue’s old jail facility in Barangay Looc, while four are in the new jail facility in Barangay Basak.

Baltar said the 17 PDLs are between the ages of 27 to 51 years old.

The BJMP was able to detect the PDLs’ HIV status after they were screened upon their entry into the jail facility.

In 2022, both the male and female dormitories tested negative for HIV.

HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system and usually spreads through contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex.

If left untreated, it could progress to Aids (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), a more life-threatening disease.

Baltar said they have programs for HIV awareness in Mandaue. Some of these programs include the constant information, education and communication (IEC) drives and awareness training conducted by the local government.

Baltar said they do not discriminate against PDLs with HIV and do not deprive them of a visit by their loved ones.

The jail had announced the resumption of inmate visitation in November 2022, but visitors need to present a Covid-19 vaccination card. Their card must show they are fully vaccinated.

Both conjugal (spouse) and contact visits usually run up to 30 minutes.

To avoid overcrowding in the jail, Baltar said visitors would be informed of their visiting schedule through text message.

Drug test

Meanwhile, last March 23, 93 personnel of the BJMP underwent a surprise drug test conducted by the BJMP Regional office. Baltar said all tested negative.

On March 22, the Mandaue City Anti-Drug Abuse Council, headed by Ebenezer Daryl Manzano, also conducted a surprise drug test on 385 personnel of the Mandaue City Health Department, Local Registrar, and City Nutrition Department.

Manzano said the drug test results would be available after a month and a half.