The prevalence of AIDS infection is approximately four times higher in state and Federal prisons than among the general U.S. population. It is also apparent that high-risk HIV transmission behaviors occur inside prison; however, data that validly document cases of HIV transmission in prison are rare. This study uses data from a large sample of state prison inmates and logistic regression to determine what inmate characteristics are associated with contracting HIV inside prison. Findings indicate that inmates who are nonwhite and younger and who have been convicted of sexual crimes and have served longer sentences are more likely to contract HIV inside prison.
Documenting that HIV is transmitted inside prisons justifies the need for additional research and effective prevention strategies. Modeling what types of inmates might be at risk for contracting HIV inside prison can help public and correctional health researchers and officials improve their current prevention practices and ultimately reduce or prevent HIV transmission both inside and outside prison.