This journal article reviews statistical trends related to incarceration, HIV prevalence, and access to quality healthcare across various demographics (age, gender, race/ethnicity). People of color are overrepresented in prison populations, with blacks and Hispanics making up approximately 60% of inmates in state or federal prisons with sentences of over a year. Inmates affected by HIV, mental illness, and substance use – many of whom had little or no contact with health care systems before incarceration – are also overrepresented. The proportions of women, adolescents, and people over 50 in prison have grown rapidly, too.
The correctional facility environment is an important site for quality health care and HIV diagnosis, treatment, and research because it can provide basic medical care and diminish access to drugs and alcohol. However, the authors recommend strengthening these services, including improving linkage to care once inmates transition back to their communities. The authors state that medical-correctional partnerships addressing incarcerated persons with HIV may prove effective in reducing HIV-related health disparities.