Understanding HIV risk behaviors in prison: a qualitative study among recently released inmates

Titilayo Abiona (HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute, Chicago State University, Chicago, IL, USA)
Joseph Balogun (Health Studies, Chicago State University, Chicago, IL, USA)
Adedeji Adefuye (HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute, Chicago State University, Chicago, IL, USA)
Ivonne Anguh (HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute, Chicago State University, Chicago, IL, USA)

International Journal of Prisoner Health

ISSN: 1744-9200

Publication date: 21 December 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore HIV risk behaviors of inmates during incarceration and gain an in-depth understanding of the context within which these behaviors occur.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 47 recently released ex-offenders participated in focus group discussions that explored the contexts surrounding inmate engagement in HIV risk behaviors in prison. Data were analyzed using NVivo 7 and results were organized into themes.

Findings

Inmates engaged behaviors that could predispose them to HIV infection. These behaviors include unprotected sexual intercourse, transactional sex, injection drug use, tattooing, and body piercing. The results of this study show that the contexts within which risk behaviors occur among inmates are complex, involving inmates, corrections staff, and visitors. The reasons why inmates engage in risk behaviors are also myriad: finance; addiction; boredom; deprivation; prison culture; slack security and monitoring; indifference by correctional officers; and violence.

Practical implications

Prevention of risk behaviors and ultimately HIV transmission in prison requires a multi-dimensional ecological approach that focusses on the inmates, prison staff, prison system, policies, and policy makers.

Originality/value

This paper attempts to explore HIV risk behaviors of prison inmates. It is of value to health professionals, security agents, administrators, and non-governmental organizations that work with the incarcerated population.

Keywords

Citation

Abiona, T., Balogun, J., Adefuye, A. and Anguh, I. (2015), "Understanding HIV risk behaviors in prison: a qualitative study among recently released inmates", International Journal of Prisoner Health, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 196-208. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPH-11-2014-0043

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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