Objectives: This paper describes research that examined the association between high-risk sexual and drug-using behaviors during incarceration and HIV infection for African-American men receiving HIV care at three public medical centers in Los Angeles County (LAC), California.
Methods: A case-control study was conducted in which 305 HIV-infected African-American men and 305 neighborhood controls, ages 20 to 49, were frequency-matched by age.
Results: After controlling for anal sex while not incarcerated, we found no association between anal sex during incarceration and HIV (odds ratio [OR], 1.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.6-2.2). Among men with a history of incarceration (n = 332), the percentage reporting anal sex with men outside of incarceration (45%) was greater than those reporting anal sex while incarcerated (16%). Injection drug use (IDU) during incarceration was also not associated with HIV when controlling for IDU outside of incarceration (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 0.5- 4.9). Increased time in jail or prison was associated with less HIV infection (p =.001).
Conclusions: Although high-risk behaviors are more common in the community than in the incarcerated setting for this study group, incarcerated populations represent a high-risk group for whom access to prevention messages is limited. Periods of incarceration represent a unique opportunity to convey prevention messages that focus on high-risk behaviors outside the incarcerated setting.