Study examines incarceration among women at risk for HIV

Lifestyle

Nearly half (46.7%) of women in the U.S. at risk for HIV have been incarcerated, according to a new study. The study is published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Women’s Health. Click here to read the article now.

The incarceration rate for women at risk for HIV was 5.5 per 100 person-years, compared to an estimated 0.16 per 100 person-years for women in the U.S. overall.

“Even among a sample of women who are identified as being at-risk of HIV, those with the greatest degree of ongoing HIV risk are those most often incarcerated,” says Jaimie Meyer, MD, Yale School of Medicine, in an accompanying editorial. “Moreover, one-fifth of participants had male sexual partners who were incarcerated prior to or during the women’s study involvement. This study confirms intersectional risks for both criminal justice involvement and HIV among a key population of women, which has important implications for interventions that can address health disparities.”

“Our findings suggest that there is a critical need to provide HIV prevention interventions for women who have experienced incarceration as part of an effort to disrupt the cycle of HIV risk and incarceration. In particular, U.S. women who experience HIV risk due to drug use are also likely to bear a disproportionate burden of policing, arrest and incarceration,” state AK Knittel, MD, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and coauthors.