Women with HIV who transition from jail experience greater comorbidity and poorer treatment outcomes than HIV-infected men, according to new data published online.
“Women with HIV transitioning from jail to communities have distinct medical, psychiatric and social needs that need to be comprehensively addressed to achieve continuity of care and successful HIV treatment outcomes,” study researcher Jaimie Meyer, MD, of the infectious diseases section of Yale School of Medicine, told Infectious Disease News.
Meyer and colleagues wrote in The American Journal of Public Health that a disproportionate number of individuals with HIV cycle through correctional facilities each year — approximately one sixth of the HIV/AIDS population in the United States. Previous research has suggested that women fare better than men during incarceration. However, the researchers hypothesized that women — who face greater comorbid conditions than men — may experience poorer treatment outcomes after release from jail.
Data from the multi-site prospective cohort study, Enhancing Linkages to HIV Primary Care and Services in Jail Setting Initiative, were used to assess baseline and 6-month HIV treatment outcomes among 867 released jail detainees, of whom 31.9% were women.
Results indicated that, at baseline, the women were more likely than men to be younger, non-Hispanic white, married, homeless and depressed. Recent alcohol and heroin use were comparable between men and women.
At 6 months following release from jail, women were significantly less likely to meet key treatment goals, including retention in care (50% vs. 63%), receiving ART in the past week (39% vs. 58%), adhering to ART (28% vs. 44%) or achieving viral suppression (18% vs. 30%; P<.001 for each).