Vilnius, 5 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Lithuania has fired top prison officials after the discovery of a massive outbreak of HIV among inmates in a prison which has shocked the country. A report last week by the Lithuanian AIDS Center said 207 of the 1,727 inmates at the Alytus penitentiary, in southern Lithuania, tested since mid-May had showed positive for HIV.
News of the outbreak caused concern that the prisoners would carry HIV, the disease which causes AIDS, back into society when released. The report said the virus was spreading mainly because of intravenous drug use.
Justice Minister Vytautas Markevicius announced "urgent measures" to restore order in prisons. The Justice Ministry said management of the prison system has been temporarily turned over to a group of specialists, some from the government's Special Investigation Service.
For more on this story, please see Lithuania: HIV Prison Outbreak Raises Alarm Where AIDS Cases Still Rare