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AIDS Care. 2006 May;18(4):339-44.

Male and female rural probationers: HIV risk behaviors and knowledge.

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Department of Behavioral Science, Center on Drug & Alcohol Research, University of Kentucky, 643 Maxwelton Court, Lexington, 40506, USA.


Individuals involved in the criminal justice system are at substantial risk for HIV infection and have elevated rates of AIDS. Offenders under community supervision, such as probationers, have substantially more opportunities to engage in high-risk behaviors than prisoners. Furthermore, probationers in rural areas are at risk because rural areas may be slower to adopt HIV risk-reduction approaches. Consequently, the primary goal of this study is to describe the HIV risk behaviors and level of HIV knowledge of 800 rural felony probationers. Bivariate results indicate that males have substantially greater criminal histories and engage in more substance use risk behaviors than females. Overall, there was minimal and inconsistent use of condoms, but there were no significant differences by gender. Gender differences prevailed in perceived HIV knowledge, with females reporting high levels of perceived HIV knowledge. Multivariate models did not support the hypothesis that perceived knowledge would be a more robust correlate of scores on the HIV Risk Behavior Knowledge Test for males than females. Results suggest that rural residents are not protected from engaging in HIV risk behaviors and future studies should examine gender discrepancies between perceived and actual HIV knowledge among offenders under community supervision.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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