Falling Through the Cracks: Risk Factors for Becoming Lost to HIV Care After Incarceration in a Southern Jail

AIDS Behav. 2020 Aug;24(8):2430-2441. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-02803-7.


Using a retrospective cohort analysis of inmates released from Dallas County Jail between January 2011 and November 2013, this study characterizes people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) who are lost to care after release from jail. We used Kaplan-Meier analysis to estimate the risk of becoming lost to post-release HIV care and a Cox proportional hazards regression model to identify associated factors. The majority of individuals (78.2%) were men and 65.5% were black. Of the incarcerations that ended with release to the community, approximately 43% failed to link to community HIV care. Non-Hispanic Whites were more likely than Hispanics or Blacks to drop out of care after release. Individuals with histories of substance use or severe mental illness were more likely to become lost, while those under HIV care prior to incarceration and/or who had adhered to antiretroviral therapy (ART) were more likely to resume care upon release. Targeted efforts such as rapid linkage to care and re-entry residence programs could encourage formerly incarcerated individuals to re-engage in care.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; Incarceration; Jail; Linkage to care; Lost-to-follow-up; Re-entry; South; Texas.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prisoners*
  • Prisons*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Texas