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Ala. Prisons Chief Says State Will Fight HIV Suit

Montgomery, AL – Alabama's prison commissioner says a lawsuit challenging the state's policy of segregating prisoners with HIV contains ``false and misinformed'' allegations.

Commissioner Kim Thomas said in a statement Thursday that the prison system will ``zealously'' defend against the lawsuit, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in Alabama's northern district. It says inmates who test positive for HIV upon entering the prison system are isolated from other inmates and are required to wear an armband that publicly identifies them as persons with HIV, which causes AIDS.

Thomas says the lawsuit ignores the prison system's obligation to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and ensure the safety of all inmates. Thomas isn't addressing the lawsuit's claims in detail.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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