Linkage to HIV Care for Jail Detainees: Findings From Detention to the First 30 Days After Release
Of people living with HIV in the US, ~16 % or over 150,000 individuals passed through a correctional facility in 2006. Given the enormous impact of HIV within incarcerated populations, facilitating continuity of care from jails to the community is particularly important in reducing morbidity and mortality for releasees. Grantees participating in the Enhancing Linkages to HIV Primary Care in Jail Settings Initiative developed models for identifying HIV-positive detainees during incarceration and linking them to care following release. In this sample of 1,021 HIV-infected releasees, 79 % received clinical services and 74 % received additional community services within 30 days post-release. Our analysis found several significant factors associated with linkage including: receipt of HIV or medication education in jail, having a completed discharge plan at release, staff awareness of clients’ release date, and stable housing on the 30th day post-release. In addition, a subset of participants who had both jail and community viral load assessments showed a statistically significant increase in suppressed viral load. EnhanceLink data suggest that jails may be effective settings to engage individuals in care.