Incarceration and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: Autopsy results in Texas prison inmates

Benjamin B. Gelman, Dwayne A. Wolf, Juan Pablo Olano, Lannette C. Linthicum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) houses many subjects with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) who receive medical care in a comprehensive AIDS treatment center. In this case-control autopsy survey, we compared pathological outcomes of TDCJ inmates treated at the center (n = 155) with nonincarcerated patients who died during the same period (n = 155). Using multiple regression analysis and a proportional hazards model, survival time in the prisoners was equivalent to that in the controls. With few exceptions, the prevalences of opportunistic viral, fungal, protozoal, and bacterial infections contributing to mortality were equivalent between groups. Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated more frequently in the inmates, and M avium intracellulare was isolated less frequently (P<0001). The inmates had a higher prevalence of bacterial infection of the central nervous system (CNS) (9.1% v 1.4%; P < .006); half of all CNS bacterial infections were caused by M tuberculosis. Inmates had significantly lower prevalences of vacuolar myelopathy (P < .006) and severe wasting disease (P < .0009). We conclude that survival of prison inmates with AIDS treated in a comprehensive AIDS treatment center was equivalent to that of nonincarcerated subjects with AIDS. Prevalences of certain complications of AIDS differed in the inmates, showing that the prison environment influenced some of the underlying causes of AIDS morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1282-1287
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1996


  • AIDS
  • cachexia
  • incarceration
  • meningitis
  • mycobacterium
  • prison
  • tuberculosis
  • vacuolar myelopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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