The possible transmission of HIV/AIDS throughout the community is a serious issue. The nation's gaols, with their changing population, are of particular concern. This concern is reflected in some recent government initiatives: the New South Wales State Cabinet is planning to empower magistrates to order carriers of the virus to undergo medical treatment, counselling and surveillance; the Queensland Health Department is funding a research project which aims to detail the extent of drug-taking and sex among prisoners.
It is important that public debate is well informed about HIV/AIDS and its prevention. This Trends and Issues summarises the policies relating to HIV/AIDS at present in place in Australia's prison systems, canvasses some important issues relating to its prevention in the prison environment, and stresses the need for effective educational programs.