HIV Care Continuum Among People Living With HIV and History of Arrest and Mental Health Diagnosis

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2023 Dec 15;94(5):403-411. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000003296. Epub 2023 Nov 10.


Objective: Justice involvement and psychiatric comorbidities contribute to excess HIV morbidity, yet their interaction is poorly understood. We examined associations of this overlap with HIV outcomes among people living with HIV (PLWH).

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of PLWH aged 13 years and older residing in Marion County (Indianapolis), IN, during 2018 (n = 5730) using linked HIV surveillance, arrest, and clinical data. We used univariable and multivariable regression to evaluate main and interaction effects of 2010-2017 arrest and mental health diagnosis on 2018 linkage to care (LTC), retention in care (RIC), and undetectable viral load (UVL).

Results: LTC decreased among those with, versus without, an arrest (P = 0.02), although mental health diagnoses had no significant effect on LTC. When controlling for demographics and substance use disorder, analyses indicated a protective effect of arrest history on odds of RIC (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.54) and UVL (aOR = 1.26). Mental health diagnosis also increased odds of RIC (aOR = 2.02) and UVL (aOR = 1.95). Post hoc tests demonstrated that these results were mediated by outpatient care utilization, although an arrest or mental health diagnosis did increase odds of RIC among PLWH and a history of low outpatient utilization.

Conclusions: Outpatient care utilization improves HIV outcomes, even among those with justice involvement and psychiatric comorbidities. Holistic approaches to care can increase utilization. Implementation of "no wrong door" approaches, such as integration of mental health care in the primary care setting, simplifies health care navigation and improves access. Among those arrested, access to a Behavioral Court program can improve, rather than disrupt, HIV care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • HIV Infections* / complications
  • HIV Infections* / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Retrospective Studies