Screening new inmates for HIV may not reveal many new undetected cases, study shows

November 26, 2013, University of North Carolina Health Care

More than 90 percent of HIV-infected inmates entering prison in North Carolina had previously tested positive for the virus, according to a study published in the November 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A significant proportion of people with HIV in the United States enter the prison system each year, and many have believed that screening new inmates for HIV would yield many new diagnoses. "We found that was not the case, and that few of the HIV-positive individuals coming into state prison in North Carolina had not previously been diagnosed with HIV," said Dr. David Wohl, an associate professor of infectious diseases at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the lead author of the paper.

Wohl and his team tested 22,134 inmates entering prison between 2008 and 2009 for HIV using excess blood collected for mandatory syphilis testing. Overall, 1.45 percent (320) of these inmates tested HIV-positive. Merging test results with records from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services revealed that all but 20, or 93.8 percent, of these inmates had a record of a positive HIV test prior to their incarceration.

The relatively low prevalence of undiagnosed HIV among those entering state prison suggests that an emphasis on screening incoming to detect HIV may not be warranted. "Other at-risk populations with higher levels of undiagnosed HIV infection may constitute a higher priority for screening for HIV than prisoners. Of all new HIV diagnoses in North Carolina in 2008-2009, less than 2 percent were prison entrants," the authors concluded.

At the time the study was conducted, HIV testing in the North Carolina state prison system was voluntary. In July 2013, the state passed a bill requiring all prisoners to be tested for HIV at entry, every four years during incarceration, and at release.

Explore further: To cut STD rate, Calif considers condoms in prison

More information: doi:10.l001/jama.2013.280740

Related Stories

To cut STD rate, Calif considers condoms in prison

July 7, 2013
California lawmakers are considering a bill requiring officials to make condoms available to state prison inmates as a way of limiting the spread of HIV and other diseases.

France okays home tests for HIV

November 7, 2013
Self-testing HIV kits will go on sale in France next year under a strategy aimed at reducing the spread of the virus causing AIDS, Health Minister Marisol Touraine said on Thursday.

Japan man contracts HIV through blood transfusion

November 26, 2013
The Japanese government and Red Cross said Tuesday that a man in his 60s has contracted HIV through a blood transfusion, while testing continued on another patient who received blood from the same donor.

HIV and parenting needs to be discussed, new study finds

November 21, 2013
A team from Royal Holloway University and St. Mary's Hospital, London, interviewed young people aged 18-23 who had transmitted HIV from their mothers – known as 'perinatally acquired HIV' (PAH). Previously most of these ...

FDA approves rapid diagnostic test for HIV antigen, antibodies

August 9, 2013
(HealthDay)—The first rapid test to detect the HIV-1 antigen, as well as blood antibodies for the HIV-1 and HIV-2 strains, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Recommended for you

War in Ukraine has escalated HIV spread in the country: study

January 15, 2018
Conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of HIV outbreaks throughout the country as displaced HIV-infected people move from war-affected regions to areas with higher risk of transmission, according to analysis by scientists.

Researchers offer new model for uncovering true HIV mortality rates in Zambia

January 12, 2018
A new study that seeks to better ascertain HIV mortality rates in Zambia could provide a model for improved national and regional surveillance approaches, and ultimately, more effective HIV treatment strategies.

New drug capsule may allow weekly HIV treatment

January 9, 2018
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. This advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule ...

New long-acting, less-toxic HIV drug suppresses virus in humanized mice

January 8, 2018
A team of Yale researchers tested a new chemical compound that suppresses HIV, protects immune cells, and remains effective for weeks with a single dose. In animal experiments, the compound proved to be a promising new candidate ...

Usage remains low for pill that can prevent HIV infection

January 8, 2018
From gritty neighborhoods in New York and Los Angeles to clinics in Kenya and Brazil, health workers are trying to popularize a pill that has proven highly effective in preventing HIV but which—in their view—remains woefully ...

Researchers find clues to AIDS resistance in sooty mangabey genome

January 3, 2018
Peaceful co-existence, rather than war: that's how sooty mangabeys, a monkey species found in West Africa, handle infection by SIV, a relative of HIV, and avoid developing AIDS-like disease.

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.