Linking criminal justice-involved individuals to HIV, Hepatitis C, and opioid use disorder prevention and treatment services upon release to the community: Progress, gaps, and future directions

Int J Drug Policy. 2021 Oct:96:103283. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2021.103283. Epub 2021 May 18.


Improving HIV and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) management among people involved in the criminal justice (CJ) system who use drugs, in particular those with opioid use disorder (OUD), requires effective approaches to screening, linkage, and adherence to integrated prevention and treatment services across correctional and community agencies and providers. This manuscript reviews the literature to explore gaps in HIV, Hepatitis C, and OUD prevention, treatment, and delivery cascades of care for persons involved in the CJ system. Specifically, we compare two models of linkage to prevention and treatment services: Peer/Patient Navigation (PN) wherein the PN links CJ-involved individuals to community-based infectious disease (ID) and substance use prevention and treatment services, and Mobile Health Units (MHU) wherein individuals are linked to a MHU within their community that provides integrated ID and substance use prevention and treatment services. The most notable finding is a gap in the literature, with few to no comparisons of models linking individuals recently released from the CJ system to integrated HIV, Hepatitis C, and OUD prevention and treatment and other harm reduction services. Further, few published studies address the geographical distinctions that affect service implementation and their effects on these substance use, ID and harm reduction care cascades. This manuscript makes specific recommendations to fill this gap through a detailed evaluation of PN and MHU linkage models to co-located and integrated HIV, Hepatitis C, and OUD prevention and treatment services across different communities within the U.S.

Keywords: HIV; Hepatitis C; Medication for opioid use disorder; Mobile Health Unit; Opioid use disorder; Patient/Peer Navigation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Criminal Law
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • Hepacivirus
  • Hepatitis C* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / complications