CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 1429 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) on March 11, 2009.
H.R. 1429 requires the Bureau of Prisons to develop a comprehensive policy to provide HIV testing, treatment, and prevention for inmates within the prison system and upon reentry. The Bureau would draft regulations to implement this policy within one year.
This legislation requires that medical personnel provide HIV testing to all new inmates upon their admission to prison and that all prisoners be provided with HIV testing within six months of enactment. Additionally, an HIV test would be provided upon request once a year, or "whenever an inmate has a reason to believe the inmate has been exposed to HIV," and medical personnel would provide routine HIV testing to all inmates who become pregnant. However, inmates would have the right to refuse routine HIV testing and be informed of this right.
H.R. 1429 states that all inmates who test positive for HIV would receive timely and comprehensive medical treatment, counseling, and voluntary partner notification services. The bill requires that the Bureau of Prison provide pre- and post-HIV test counseling services, as well as frequent, culturally sensitive, and multilingual educational HIV/AIDS programs with information on modes of transmission and methods of treatment and prevention.
The bill authorizes such sums as necessary to carry out H.R. 1429.
In the 110th Congress, the House passed a similar bill (H.R. 1943) by voice vote, but the Senate never considered that legislation.
The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that in 2003, 2% of State prison inmates and 1.1% of Federal prison inmates were known to be infected with HIV. Of the 23,964 inmates known to be HIV positive at that time, an estimated 5,944 were confirmed AIDS cases.
In an April 21, 2006 report, the Centers for Disease control reported that "the estimated prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is nearly five times higher for incarcerated populations (2.0%) than for the general U.S. population (0.43%)."
There is no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate available for H.R. 1429. However, a similar bill (H.R. 1943) passed by the House in the 110th Congress was estimated to cost about $12 million over five years, subject to appropriations.