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October 30, 2019

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Public Health Concerns Over Immigrant Detention Centers

IDSA and HIVMA members have been raising concerns over the past 18 months about the immigrant detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border and the vast public health issues they pose. In response, IDSA and HIVMA collaborated with the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society to draw attention to the issue. The Societies released a joint statement in June 2018, when the detention policy was implemented, discouraging the practice on both moral and public health grounds. The organizations responded when news broke in July that parents with HIV were being separated from the children due to their HIV status and issued another statement after Customs and Border Patrol indicated they would not be issuing influenza vaccinations to detainees.

A newly published journal article and commentary in Clinical Infectious Diseases examine the untenable conditions of the detention centers and the disastrous effects of those conditions on the health of migrants and the societies issued this news release. IDSA and HIVMA are now circulating a physician and health care professional sign-on letter directed at Congress urging the immediate closure of immigrant detention centers as well as timely provision of medical care for immigrant and asylum-seeking persons. The full letter and sign-on form can be found here.

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