This research paper presents a discussion of AIDS in the prison system, with a focus on Latinos and Blacks, compared to Whites and other groups. Effective prevention and treatment techniques are addressed.
Studies show that prison populations have a high proportion of inmates infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) and many of these have acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). A potential risk for being exposed to highly infections pathogens, particularly Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is found in the prison environment. Infections involved in immunosuppressed AIDS patients are influenced by the prison environment leading to morbidity and mortality. In many correctional systems, AIDS is the leading overall cause of inmate death (Collins, Baumgartner, & Henry, 1995, p. 45; & Gelman, Wolf, Olano, & Linthicum, 1996, p. 1282).
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is the largest prison system in the United States. Over 127,000 inmates are housed in this system; 1,855 of these prisoners are known to be seropositive for HIV-1 and over 1,000 have AIDS. All of these prisoners receive care through a comprehensive AIDS treatment center. In a study of autopsy findings from this population, causes of morbidity and mortality in AIDS patients was compared with control subjects (nonincarcerated AIDS patients). Results demonstrated that Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated more frequently in inmates and M avium intracellulare was isolated less frequently. Inmates showed a higher prevalence of bacterial infection of the central nervous system and half of these were caused by M tuberculosis. Inmates had lower prevalences of vacuolar myelopathy and severe wasting disease. It was concluded that treatment of inmates with AIDS was equivalent to that of nonincarcerated AIDS subjects (Gelman, Wolf, Olano, & Linthicum, p. 1282).
Inciardi (1996) also reports on AIDS and the prison system. Increasing rates of drug u...