This article examines the link between incarceration and STI and HIV risk by looking at sexual networks in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. In the study population, any length of former incarceration was linked to higher likelihood of infection with STIs or HIV, even after controlling for other variables. While past studies have shown that incarceration is linked to sexual risk behaviors, this data suggests an independent correlation between incarceration and biologically confirmed infection with an STI or HIV. This may be due to formerly incarcerated people not only taking part in riskier sexual behaviors, but also having increased risk of contact with infected partners. The social network data from this study show a large degree of interconnectedness, so any effects of incarceration on STI transmission are likely to be disseminated through the network, increasing risk even for those who have never been incarcerated. This highlights the need for STI and HIV prevention efforts for inmates, their sexual partners, and their sexual networks. The authors suggest prison- and community-based programs and further research on their effectiveness.
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