The importance of routine HIV testing in the incarcerated population: the Rhode Island experience

AIDS Educ Prev. 2002 Oct;14(5 Suppl B):45-52. doi: 10.1521/aeap.


Routine HIV testing in the correctional setting offered to all inmates at entry has played an important role in the diagnosis of HIV in Rhode Island. Diagnosis and treatment of HIV in prisons can further public health goals of HIV control, prevention, and education. Routine HIV testing can be incorporated into primary and secondary prevention programs in correctional facilities. In Rhode Island, where HIV testing is routine at entry into the correctional facility, approximately one third of all persons who test positive are identified in the correctional facility. The proportion of males and females testing positive in the correctional facility versus those testing positive in other facilities has shown a gradual decrease, with positive female HIV tests declining more substantially in recent years. Specific groups, such as males, African Americans, and injection drug users continue to be more likely diagnosed in the state correctional facility than in other testing sites. These differences may reflect barriers to health care access that other community initiatives have failed to address.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prisons / organization & administration*
  • Rhode Island / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous