Published On: Wed, Jan 29th, 2014

HIV-infected women released from jail have worse HIV treatment outcomes than men, according to Yale study

A recently published study in the American Journal of Public Health shows that HIV-infected women transitioning from jail experience greater comorbidity and worse HIV treatment outcomes than their male counterparts.

Jaimie Meyer, MD Image/Yale School of Medicine

Jaimie Meyer, MD
Image/Yale School of Medicine

I had the opportunity to learn more about this research during an interview with the lead author of the study, Jaimie P. Meyer, MD, Yale University School of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, AIDS Program on Tuesday (Listen below).

Why is HIV so prevalent in people of both sexes in the prison system? Dr. Meyers says one sixth of all people living with HIV/AIDS transition through jail or prison annually. “Part of the reason for this is the same types of risk behaviors that go along with HIV are the same kind of risk behaviors that go along with incarceration”, she notes. These include injection drug use, commercial sex work and factors like severe mental illness.

We then went into discussing the specifics of the study. Dr. Meyer said they did a multisite study looking at the individuals “engagement of care”. This includes do they have an HIV provider, taking antiretroviral treatment and adhering to it to get their viral loads low.

“What we found  that prior to coming to jail, women did worse than men on every marker. And six months after leaving jail, women were a lot less likely than men to have an HIV provider, to be taking meds, to be adhering to their meds and having success with treating their HIV”, according to Meyer. “Women are about half as likely as men to have success in treating their HIV six months after being released from jail”.

This of course led to the obvious question, why?

Meyer listed some factors that are contributing to this–women are more likely to be homeless, ongoing cocaine use, and ongoing depression.

This unfortunately leads to greater risk of HIV associated disease, non HIV associated diseases but also to transmitting HIV to others.

So what can be done to reverse these results?

“What this study suggests is that we need specific approaches geared to women with HIV who are leaving prison or jail and transitioning into the community , intervention and programs directed to their specific needs.”

Dr. Meyer closes with, “It’s a population that deserves special attention.”


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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Letter to the Editor: HIV-infected women released from jail have worse HIV treatment outcomes than men, according to Yale study - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] response to an interview I had with the lead author of the study, “Gender Disparities in HIV Treatment Outcomes Following Release From Jail: […]

  2. Public Health Advocate Fights To Increase HIV/AIDS Awareness | Wired Vixen says:

    […] of HIV infections. He also partnered with affected communities to fight the disease and …HIV-infected women released from jail have worse HIV treatment outcomes than … The Global DispatchYale University's Play2Prevent Lab Working on Game About HIV Awareness Game […]

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