Preliminary evidence of significant gaps in continuity of HIV care among excarcerated populations in Puerto Rico

Michael C. Clatts, Carlos E. Rodriguez-Díaz, Hermes García, Ricardo L. Vargas-Molina, Gerardo G. Jovet-Toledo, Lloyd A. Goldsamt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Puerto Rico has high HIV prevalence and incidence rates, including a large prison population living with HIV. While HIV treatment is available within the prisons, there are no linkages to care or treatment preparedness interventions following release. Methods: In an effort to assess the risk of treatment discontinuity in this group, we examined data from an ongoing epidemiological study in the largest, publicly funded HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) treatment center in the San Juan area. Results: Among the newly enrolled, HIV-positive patients with a history of incarceration, there was an average 4-year gap in reengagement in treatment. Drug and sexual risk behaviors were prevalent, as was evidence of significant immune impairment (including high viral load and low CD4 count). Conclusions: Treatment discontinuity may contribute to poor health outcomes in this group and also fuel new infections. There is an urgent need for interventions to retain HIV-positive inmates in community HIV care following release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-341
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Keywords

  • HIV
  • Puerto Rico
  • excarceration
  • prison
  • reentry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases

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