Factors Associated With Incarceration History Among HIV-Positive Persons

Cari Courtenay-Quirk, Sherri Pals, Daniel Kidder, Kirk Henry and James Emshoff

June 2008

Among persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of homelessness, a history of incarceration may serve as a marker for ongoing risk behavior or health disparities. The study examines factors associated with a history of incarceration among HIV-positive clients of housing agencies in Baltimore, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The researchers used logistic regression to conduct analyses. Of the 581 participants, 68% reported a history of incarceration, and 32% had spent more than 1 year incarcerated. After adjustment for covariates, incarceration history was associated with having ever injected drugs, ever engaged in sex exchange, and ever experienced physical abuse. Incarceration history was also associated with having a detectable HIV viral load, better mental health, and being a biological parent. It was not associated with current risk behavior.  The researchers conclude that service providers should explore possible increased need for medical support among homeless PLWHA with a history of incarceration.

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