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HIV/AIDS, STDs, and TB in Correctional Facilities, 1996-1997 Update

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1999
106 pages
HIV infection and AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), tuberculosis, and a range of other health problems are disproportionately found among inmates and ex-offenders and pose serious challenges for correctional administrators, health service providers, and public health officials.
The overall prevalence of HIV infection and AIDS among inmates has been quite stable since 1991, but some correctional systems have experienced declines in HIV seroprevalence and AIDS deaths among inmates. Nonetheless, HIV infection and AIDS continue to be far more prevalent among inmates than in the U.S. population. The Northeast region has the largest number and percentage of inmates with HIV and AIDS, the prevalence of HIV and AIDS is higher among Hispanic and black inmates than among white inmates, and the prevalence of HIV and AIDS is higher among female inmates than among male inmates. Available data on STDs and hepatitis B and C among inmates are incomplete, reflecting the relative rarity of routine screening for these conditions in correctional facilities. Behavioral profiles and anecdotal evidence, however, suggest inmates are disproportionately affected by STDs and hepatitis. HIV and STD education programs are becoming more widespread in correctional facilities, although few correctional systems have implemented comprehensive and intensive AIDS prevention programs in all their facilities. High-risk behaviors for AIDS transmission, such as sex, drug use, sharing of injection materials, and tattooing, occur in correctional facilities. The implementation of universal precautions represents the heart of a correctional infection control program and the first line of defense against the occupational transmission of AIDS. Most correctional systems provide HIV antibody testing but testing policies differ widely. Only a small number of correctional systems segregate inmates with HIV and AIDS. A continuum of services, including early identification, timely and effective treatment, case management, discharge planning, and community linkages, is necessary to achieve optimum clinical and psychosocial outcomes for inmates with HIV and AIDS. The incidence of tuberculosis has declined both in the U.S. population and among inmates, although the rate remains much higher among inmates. Legal and legislative issues associated with HIV and AIDS are discussed. Endnotes, tables, and figures

Date Published: July 1, 1999