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Sex Transm Dis. 2011 Jan;38(1):43-7. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3181e969d0.

Dissolution of primary intimate relationships during incarceration and associations with post-release STI/HIV risk behavior in a Southeastern city.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA. mrkhan@umd.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Incarceration is associated with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It may contribute to STI/HIV by disrupting primary intimate relationships that protect against high-risk partnerships.

METHODS:

In an urban sample of men (N = 229) and women (N = 144) in North Carolina, we assessed how often respondents experienced the dissolution of a primary intimate relationship at the time of their own (among men) or their partner's (among women) incarceration. We then measured the association between dissolution of relationships during incarceration and STI/HIV-related risk behaviors.

RESULTS:

Among men who had ever been incarcerated for 1 month or longer (N = 72), 43% (N = 31) had a marital or nonmarital primary partner at the time of the longest prior sentence. Among women, 22% (N = 31) had ever had a primary partner who had been incarcerated for 1 month or longer. Of men and women who were in a relationship at the time of a prior incarceration of 1 month or longer (N = 62), more than 40% of men and 30% of women reported that the relationship ended during the incarceration. In analyses adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and crack/cocaine use, loss of a partner during incarceration was associated with nearly 3 times the prevalence of having 2 or more new partners in the 4 weeks before the survey (prevalence ratio: 2.80, 95% confidence interval: 1.13-6.96).

CONCLUSIONS:

In this sample, incarceration disrupted substantial proportions of primary relationships and dissolution of those relationships was associated with subsequent STI/HIV risk. The results highlight the need for further research to investigate the effects of incarceration on relationships and health.

PMID:
20739913
PMCID:
PMC3569980
DOI:
10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3181e969d0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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