HIV-infected women experience worse treatment outcomes after release from jail

January 22, 2014 by Helen Dodson
HIV-infected women experience worse treatment outcomes after release from jail
Credit: Shutterstock

(Medical Xpress)—A Yale study has uncovered significant gender differences in the treatment outcomes of HIV-infected jail detainees who are transitioning to life outside jail, with women faring much worse than men. The study appears online in the American Journal of Public Health.

In the United States, the HIV epidemic is highly concentrated among those in the . One sixth of all people living with HIV/AIDS transition through jail or prison annually. In addition, the criminal justice population has high numbers of people who experience economic or social instability, psychiatric disorders, and substance use disorders. These conditions have an adverse impact on treatment outcomes for those infected with HIV, and also interfere with HIV prevention and treatment efforts. Unlike prisons, jails house individuals who are pre-trial or have short sentences, leading to rapid turnover that is particularly destabilizing.

The team examined in HIV treatment outcomes at the time of release from jail and six months after release. One third were women. Compared with men, the women studied were significantly less likely to attain any of the three optimal HIV treatment outcomes at six months after release from jail. Those outcomes include having a regular HIV-care provider, gaining access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy, and achieving viral suppression—a phenomenon that can reduce HIV transmission to others. Overall, women were half as likely as men to achieve viral suppression by six months post-release.

Because the women are significantly less likely than men to get the continuing care they need to control their viral load, they have significantly more negative health outcomes, including transmission to their sexual partners.

"Women living with HIV and transitioning from jail often have severe psychiatric and substance use disorders that interfere with healthcare engagement. We have identified a gender-specific resource gap for people with HIV leaving jail and returning to communities," said first author Jaimie Meyer, M.D., of the infectious diseases section of Yale School of Medicine.

The authors write that it's urgent that future HIV prevention interventions be tailored to the unique needs of women in the system.

Explore further: Are there gender differences in anti-HIV drug efficacy?

Related Stories

Are there gender differences in anti-HIV drug efficacy?

August 9, 2012

Women comprise nearly half of the HIV-infected population worldwide, but these 15.5 million women tend to be under-represented in clinical trials of anti-HIV drug therapies. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ...

Twin epidemics: HIV and Hepatitis C in the urban Northeast

May 17, 2013

A new Yale study looks at the scope and consequences of a burgeoning health problem in the cities of the U.S. Northeast: concurrent infection with both HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV). The study appears online in the May 14 issue ...

Integrating mental health care into HIV care

May 21, 2013

The integration of mental health interventions into HIV prevention and treatment platforms can reduce the opportunity costs of care and improve treatment outcomes, argues a new Policy Forum article published in this week's ...

Recommended for you

Targeting HIV in semen to shut down AIDS

August 18, 2015

There may be two new ways to fight AIDS—using a heat shock protein or a small molecule - to attack fibrils in semen associated with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) during the initial phases of infection, according ...

Vitamin D status related to immune response to HIV-1

June 15, 2015

Vitamin D plays an important part in the human immune response and deficiency can leave individuals less able to fight infections like HIV-1. Now an international team of researchers has found that high-dose vitamin D supplementation ...

HVTN 505 vaccine induced antibodies nonspecific for HIV

July 30, 2015

A study by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Duke University helps explain why the candidate vaccine used in the HVTN 505 clinical trial was not protective against HIV infection ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.