Drug Resistant

Harris County jailers are in no hurry to hand out meds to inmates with AIDS. Inmates claim this and other lockup practices endanger their lives.

That leaves inmates feeling like they're on their own. Shook says a guard once berated him when he disclosed he had AIDS while showing him a permission slip signed by a doctor that allowed him to cover up with a blanket during the day. (Inmates are not allowed under covers until 6 p.m.)

"Is it airborne? I better not catch it," the guard allegedly said before adding that he should knock Shook's teeth down his throat.

"Are they not educated on HIV? Why was he so hateful and afraid? I was in fear. He put me in danger, telling the whole dorm my condition," Shook says.

On August 19 at 3:36 a.m., Jo Shook picked up her son from Harris County Jail. Randall Shook now lives with his mother because he has lost his home. While he was incarcerated, his boyfriend of six years left him and neglected to pay rent on their house. Shook saw a doctor twice during his four-month-long sentence. About three weeks before his release he saw a doctor, who examined new test results and delivered bad news: The drugs were not working. Was he not taking his meds, the doctor asked? He did not know that Shook's regimen had been interrupted.

Now, Shook waits to see a new doctor. The other day he drove out to his old work place to have his hair cut by a co-worker. Just driving back and forth exhausted him and required a nap. He just tries to take it one day at a time, he says.

"We have to see if we can keep him longer," his mother says. "I'd like for him to make it through the holidays, if possible."

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