Decreasing HIV transmissions to African American women through interventions for men living with HIV post-incarceration: An agent-based modeling study

PLoS One. 2019 Jul 15;14(7):e0219361. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219361. eCollection 2019.


Background: Incarceration and HIV disproportionately impact African American communities. The mass incarceration of African American men is hypothesized to increase HIV acquisition risk for African American women. Interventions optimizing HIV care engagement and minimizing sexual risk behaviors for men living with HIV post-incarceration may decrease HIV incidence.

Methods: Using an agent-based model, we simulated a sexual and injection drug using network representing the African American population of Philadelphia. We compared intervention strategies for men living with HIV post-incarceration by the number of averted HIV transmissions to women within the community. Three interventions were evaluated: a 90-90-90 scenario scaling up HIV testing, ART provision, and ART adherence; a behavioral intervention decreasing sexual risk behaviors; and a combination intervention involving both.

Results: The status quo scenario projected 2,836 HIV transmissions to women over twenty years. HIV transmissions to women decreased by 29% with the 90-90-90 intervention, 23% with the behavioral intervention, and 37% with both. The number of men living with HIV receiving the intervention needed in order to prevent a single HIV transmission ranged between 6 and 10.

Conclusion: Interventions to improve care engagement and decrease sexual risk behaviors post-incarceration for men living with HIV have the potential to decrease HIV incidence within African American heterosexual networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • African Americans*
  • Algorithms
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Condoms
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / ethnology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Philadelphia / epidemiology
  • Prisoners*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications
  • Systems Analysis
  • Unsafe Sex