Prison withheld HIV treatment, waiting for AIDS symptoms

Department of Corrections chief thought it couldn’t be treated until AIDS symptoms developed


By C1 Staff

GUAM — An HIV-positive detainee was being denied treatment because the Department of Corrections chief thought it couldn’t be treated until AIDS symptoms developed.

Guam PDN reports that Director Jose San Agustin realizes that he needs to learn more about the disease.

Originally, murder suspect Keith Garrido’s defense attorney, Stephen Hattori, argued that Garrido wasn’t receiving treatment due to being a pretrial detainee and not an inmate. Hattori said Garrido was prepared to plead guilty to the charges in order to receive treatment.

Instead, a judge declined the plea and ordered the prison to provide treatment.

The prison has unclear policies about how to handle patients with HIV. The DOC approached the Department of Public Health and Social Services in 2012 to get more information, but were told that they would have to develop their own medical plan. Public Health offered to help with the standards.

Allegedly the DOC did not seek further help from Public Health.

San Agustin based his handling of the current situation on the department’s experience with a previous DOC inmate who had “full-fledged AIDS.”

As a result, he said officials were waiting for this incidence of HIV to become “more serious.”

Guam law requires the Department of Corrections to provide medical treatment for all inmates and detainees.

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