Lifting the Veil on AIDS in a Mexican Prison

Published: August 25, 2008

Lifting the Veil on AIDS in a Mexican Prison

MEXICO CITY — Officially, there is no sex among the male inmates at the over-packed Oriente prison on the outskirts of the Mexican capital. The only sexual relations in the male portion of the facility, administrators say, occur in the special rooms set aside for male-female conjugal visits.

But talk to the prisoners, a group of 11,300 convicted robbers, murderers and others who have run afoul of the law, and another reality emerges.

“We are a population of men, and it’s normal for men to have sex with whoever is around,” said Guillermo, 32, a prisoner and peer educator who has H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. “There are some who don’t want to see it.”

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