The Balearics celebrated World AIDS Day yesterday with all of the non-governmental organisations involved in the fight against AIDS united in a call on the government to either stop or immediately revise the law so that HIV sufferers are eligible for pensions. A petition has been signed by the Balearic branches and organisations Escola de Sida, Alas, Ben Amics, Siloé, Consell de Joventut, Cruz Roja and Médicos del Mundo who also called for a crackdown on drug abuse in jails. The prison services and the government were criticised yesterday for failing to properly control sexual relationships and that inmates are being allowed to inject drugs without the proper medical controls. The NGO's said that the same controls and services should be made available in jail as on the outside, such as preventative measures, syringe exchanges and the distribution of contraceptives in order to help combat AIDS in prisons. On a more local front, non-governmental organisations claim that outlying municipalities of Majorca are being ignored in the fight against AIDS. The majority of the prevention campaigns are mounted in Palma with the rural areas left to fend for themselves. NGO's have called on the Balearic government to provide extra funding for AIDS to be dealt with outside Palma and that special attention should also be given to the immigrant communities on the island. NGO's want to see a greater level of assistance for immigrants and better medical facilities made available. While on the one hand a greater police crack down on prostitution may remove part of the problem, it also forces prostitutes into a more precarious situation, the NGO's said yesterday.

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