Incarceration, Sexual Risk-Related Behaviors, and HIV Infection Among Women at Increased Risk of HIV Infection, 20 United States Cities

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Background:Women involved in the criminal justice system experience multiple risk factors that increase the likelihood of acquiring HIV infection. We evaluated the prevalence of incarceration and compared behaviors among women with and without an incarceration history.Methods:We use the 2013 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance data, which uses respondent-driven sampling. We evaluate the association between incarceration and the following past 12 months outcomes: exchange sex, multiple casual sex partners (≥3), multiple condomless sex partners (≥3), HIV test, and sexually transmitted infection diagnoses. Log-linked Poisson regression models, adjusted for demographics and clustered on city, with generalized estimating equations were used to estimate adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) and 95% confidence intervals.Results:Of 5154 women, 11% were incarcerated within the previous year, 36% were ever incarcerated but not in the past 12 months, and 53% were never incarcerated. Prevalence of exchange sex (aPR 1.32, 1.20–1.46), multiple casual partners (aPR 1.59, 1.2–2.1), multiple casual condomless partners (aPR 1.47, 1.07–2.03), and sexually transmitted infection diagnosis (aPR 1.61, 1.34–1.93) were all higher among recently incarcerated women compared with those never incarcerated. We also found higher prevalence of recent HIV testing among women recently incarcerated (aPR 1.30, 1.18–1.43).Discussion:Nearly half of women in our study had been incarcerated. Recent incarceration was associated with several factors that increase the risk of HIV acquisition. HIV prevention, testing, and early treatment among women with a history of incarceration can maximize the effectiveness of the public health response to the HIV epidemic.

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