San Mateo Gives Women Inmates AIDS Safety Kits Upon Release

Associated Press

AIDS prevention kits containing condoms, bleach to sterilize needles and safe-sex guides are being given to women who request them upon release from the San Mateo County Jail, officials said Wednesday.

Guards are targeting inmates serving time on drug or prostitution charges, according to Ed Hilton, coordinator of the San Mateo County AIDS Project. The kits also contain instructions on using the bleach to sterilize hypodermic needles, which can spread the AIDS virus if shared with someone who is infected.

"It's sort of a goodby and good luck kind of thing," said Hilton, who also conducts seminars at the Women's Correctional Facility on preventing the fatal disease.

"It's only effective if it's part of an entire education program," he said.

About 60 of the kits have been given out since the program began May 1, Lt. Bob Cancilla said. An average of 100 inmates are housed at the women's facility.

Eventually, the kits will be made available at the 400-inmate main jail in Redwood City and the Men's Honor Camp in La Honda, Hilton said.

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