XIX International AIDS Conference

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WEPE615 - Poster Exhibition


Role of state and community programs on prison releasees' linkage to HIV care

L. LeRoy1, S. Donahue1, A. Lee1, L. Solomon2, M. Costa1, J. Rich3, D. Rosen4

1Abt Associates, Inc., Domestic Health Division, Cambridge, United States, 2Abt Associates, Inc., Domestic Health Division, Bethesda, United States, 3Brown Medical School, The Miriam Hospital, Medicine and Community Health, Providence, United States, 4University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, Chapel Hill, United States

Background: Incarcerated populations have higher rates of HIV infection compared to those in the community. HIV-positive offenders frequently do not make successful, timely transitions to comprehensive medical services after release from prison. The purpose of this study was to explore state and community policies that influence HIV-infected prisonersĀ“ linkage to care post-release.
Methods: We used in-depth semi-structured interviews with providers, corrections staff, and policymakers in North Carolina and Rhode Island to learn about prison policies, administrative protocols, and political factors related to HIV care and social services and linkage to care from prison to the community. We used NVIVO software to code responses and analyzed data to determine major themes.
Results: Community providers shared their views on care delivery and local programs and policies that may influence HIV-positive releasees' linkage to needed services. Corrections staff described prison HIV care and discharge planning and explained collaborative activities necessary for successful linkage to care upon release. Policymakers, public servants, and staff from community-based organizations discussed the political climate, funding constraints, and other factors that can influence access to treatment and care services upon release, including policies for Medicaid and Medicare, state HIV/AIDS service and medication assistance programs, and other medical, behavioral, and social service programs. Summary themes revealed the influence of these programs, procedures, and conditions on linkage to care for HIV-positive offenders following release.
Conclusions: Support of linkage to care is a critical component of efforts to improve access to HIV care for released inmates. We outline key features of successful linkages to care and describe state and local policies, including funding mechanisms, institutional policies, and political climate, which influence access to HIV/AIDS treatment and related services for releasees. Findings will help identify what criminal justice systems, HIV providers and communities need to have in place to improve access to care for newly released inmates.

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