In Case You Missed It: AB 999 (Bonta) to reduce HIV/STD transmission featured in Scientific American

Thursday, September 19, 2013

(Oakland, CA) –Interest continues to grow in Assemblymember Bonta’s AB 999, which was featured in an article on September 18, 2013, in the respected, science magazine monthly, Scientific American.

View the full Scientific American article here:
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2013/09/18/condoms-behind-bars-a-modest-proposal-to-cut-stis-in-calif-prisons/

The article closes with, “California, with 120,027 current inmates, has one of the largest prison populations in the country. So, ramping up protections for that population could help put a sizable dent in the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and other STI infections nation-wide.”

AB 999 requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to implement a five-year plan to phase-in the distribution of condoms in all state prisons. CDCR would have the authority to determine the order of prisons it includes in the program, with a goal of including at least five prisons per year beginning in 2015.  AB 999 is the result of the successful findings of a Solano State Prison condom pilot project conducted in 2008. The purpose of the pilot project was to determine the practicality of condom distribution in a state prison.  As part of the pilot project, a report issued to the legislature concluded that it would cost approximately $1.39 per prisoner to implement; and the report determined that the modest cost would be cost-neutral state wide if the program averted just 2.7 to 5.5 infections per year.  According to the California Department of Health Services, the average cost per patient with HIV in the Medi-Cal system is $23,964 per year.  Over the life of the patient, a single infection can cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Assemblymember Bonta stated, “In addition to the current, strong list of support for AB 999, I am pleased to see that the scientific community is taking notice of the merits of this policy approach.  I remain hopeful that Governor Brown will join the chorus in support of the bill and agree with the Legislature by signing AB 999 into law within the next few weeks.”

Assemblymember Rob Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro. He is the Chair of the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee, and a member of the Assembly Health, Transportation, Banking & Finance, and Elections & Redistricting Committees.