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Int J Prison Health. 2009;5(2):59-70. doi: 10.1080/17449200902880524.

Pre-incarceration HIV risk behaviours of male and female inmates.

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HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute, Chicago State University, Chicago, USA.


In most countries, HIV and AIDS rates are higher among inmates than in the general population. As part of a series of studies aimed at examining the plausible links between HIV and incarceration in a State prison system in the United States (US), the present study examined pre-incarceration sexual and injection drug use behaviours of inmates and their demographic correlates. Two-hundred-andsixteen female and 260 male inmates randomly selected from 17 Illinois State prisons completed a structured questionnaire. Findings indicate that the rate of inconsistent condom use with multiple anal and vaginal sexual partners among study participants ranged from 11 to 49%. Fourteen per cent of the women and 25% of the men reported ever injecting drugs, while 13% of the women and 7% of the men had ever shared needles. Demographic correlates of risk behaviours differed between gender and for specific behaviours. The findings indicate that persons entering prison generally exhibit risk behaviours that may increase their chances of acquiring HIV. Comprehensive HIV prevention programmes should be made available to inmates in US prisons and be accessible to them upon release. Studies are needed to examine how individual and structural factors interact to increase HIV and incarceration risk.


AIDS; HIV; Injection drug use; Sexual behaviour

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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