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August 4, 1993

Doctors Help HIV-Positive Haitian Refugees Gain Freedom From US Government Detention Camp

JAMA. 1993;270(5):563-564. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510050025006

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AFTER SPENDING up to 20 months behind barbed wire in a squalid detention camp, more than 300 Haitian refugees are now free in the United States, thanks in large part to a group of physicians who spoke out against the US government's incarceration of men, women, and children for "the crime of being infected with the human immunodeficiency virus [HIV]."

At various times this year, more than a dozen physicians traveled to Camp Bulkley, the Haitian refugee detention camp at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to assess the refugees' plight, counsel them, and advocate improved conditions in the camp. The human rights project was headed by Douglas Shenson, MD, MPH, a board member of Doctors of the World, the New York, NY-based international medical relief organization affiliated with Médecins du Monde (JAMA. 1993;269:2481-2484).

Among the physicians sent by the group to Guantanamo Bay to bear witness and