BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - 224 inmates who served time in the East Baton Rouge parish prison in 2017 were treated for HIV, according to records obtained by the WAFB 9News Investigators.
And, the number could be much higher as that is only the number of inmates who told jail staff of their medical status, a procedure known as "self-reporting."
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
The cost to the jail for treating the infected inmates is quite expensive, with medication averaging $1,500 per month per inmate, records show.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office provided the figure Tuesday when responding to a lawsuit recently filed against the prison by an 18-year-old inmate who says he became HIV-positive after allegedly being raped there.
In the lawsuit, the inmate claims he should have been separated from the inmate who was allegedly HIV-positive.
The sheriff's department says that would be nearly impossible to do because so many inmates at any one time are HIV-positive. And, the department says they believe they are not legally able to isolate inmates based on their HIV status.
The population of HIV-positive inmates at the prison varies by day. Of the 224 HIV-positive inmates in 2017, some were housed there for less than a day while others were there much longer.
As of today, the jail currently has 69 inmates who have self-reported that they are HIV-positive.
Here is more information from the sheriff's department provided in response to a public records request filed by WAFB:
The sheriff's department also provided the following responses to the lawsuit filed by the inmate who claims he became HIV-positive after being raped in the prison:
Claim he was raped while 17:
Claim that said inmate should have been classified as a high-risk sexual victim: