PURPOSE: The seroprevalence of HIV infection was examined among a sample of incoming inmates in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison system. Rates were compared across sociodemographic factors and three types of prison facilities: substance abuse felony punishment units (SAFPs), state jails, and prisons. METHODS: The study sample consisted of 4386 incoming inmates incarcerated for any duration, dating from November 1, 1998, to May 31, 1999.RESULTS: Among males, inmates entering state jails had a higher HIV infection rate (3.7%) than either inmates entering prisons (1.9%) or those entering SAFPs (0.5%). Among females, inmates entering prisons had a higher rate of infection (9.3%) than those entering state jails (2.5%) or SAFPs (4.5%). CONCLUSIONS: Although a number of blinded HIV seroprevalence studies have been conducted in U.S. prison systems, scarce information is currently available on HIV infection rates in alternative correctional facilities. The present study shows that HIV seropositivity varied substantially according to race, gender, and prison facility type. Given the shorter incarceration periods for inmates held in alternative facilities, understanding how infection rates vary according to type of incarceration facility holds particular public health relevance.
- Alternative correctional facility
- HIV epidemiology
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