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J Neurosci Nurs. 2007 Dec;39(6):361-72.

Neurological function and HIV risk behaviors of female prison inmates.

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  • 1University of Delaware School of Nursing, Newark, DE, USA.


The purpose of this study was to explain relationships between neurological dysfunction, HIV serological status, and HIV risk behaviors that have not been well understood. A secondary analysis was conducted on data from 117 female prison inmates. Another 18 female inmates from the same prison were further evaluated with more specific neurological, neuropsychological, and HIV risk behavior Risk Assessment Battery (RAB) measures. Neurological function, defined by valid, reliable quantitative measures of cognition, behavior/mood, cranial nerves, motor, reflexes, and sensation, was significantly correlated with HIV RAB scores (.743, p = .006), and RAB scale scores (.824, p = .001) in HIV-negative, but not HIV-positive, inmates. Specifically, the reflex deficits subscale correlated with RAB scores (.779, p = .003) and RAB scale scores (.682, p = .015) in the HIV-negative group. These findings combined with subjects' histories suggest cerebral dysfunction possibly contributes to HIV risk behaviors in certain high-risk female inmates predating HIV infection. These findings further suggest that HIV risk reduction should target neurologically impaired females as a high-risk group. Larger studies are needed to validate these findings.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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