A Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report indicates that Daniel Hay Lewis, arrested on Monday for shoplifting and charged with the criminal transmission of HIV, physically resisted being placed in a sheriff’s car and attempted to bite a deputy.
According to the report, Lewis is charged with HIV transmission because he knew he was HIV-positive when he attempted to bite the deputy. Broward Sheriff’s Office media relations office told The Florida Independent Lewis is still in custody at the main Broward County jail.
The arrest report also indicates that Lewis was Baker Acted because he made suicidal remarks while resisting arrest. According to the report, Lewis also said he would rather be shot than go back to jail.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2008 Florida had the largest number of inmates with HIV/AIDS in custody of state or federal prison authorities (more than 3,600). The data shows that while 3.6 percent of Florida’s inmates were HIV positive, the U.S. average was 1.5 percent.
The Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS estimates that rates of HIV/AIDS in correctional facilities are three to five times higher than in the general population, and that approximately 15 to 40 percent of inmates are infected with hepatitis C.
The department also explains that prisons and jails are different. Prisons are funded and operated by the Department of Corrections, an average length of stay in one is between three and five years and prisons are mandated to provide a level of care commensurate with community standards and to test each inmate for HIV within 60 days of release.
Jails, meanwhile, are operated and funded by local county governments, often the local sheriff’s office (Lewis is in Broward’s main jail), where the average length of stay is 23 to 46 days. There are guidelines for health care, but jails are not mandated to provide a certain level of care.
Veda Coleman-Wright, from the Broward sheriff’s media relations office, tells the Independent the main jail is equipped to provide adequate medical care to Lewis but cannot disclose any specific information on the medications he may need due to confidentiality laws. She added that Armor Correctional Health Services manages inmate health care at Broward county’s main jail.
Yeleny Suarez — senior account executive at Everett Clay Associates, a public relations firm — wrote in an email to the Independent that Armor “is fully equipped to meet specialized needs of all its patients.”
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention FAQ explains that “only specific fluids (blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk) from an HIV-infected person can transmit HIV,” and that HIV transmission through a bite is “very rare.”