The Role of Jails in Engaging PLWHA in Care: From Jail to Community
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HIV testing in jails has provided public health officials with the opportunity to not only identify new cases of HIV but to also reestablish contact with previously diagnosed individuals, many of whom never entered care following diagnosis or entered care but then dropped out. The presence of inmates throughout the HIV/AIDS continuum of care suggests that jails can play a strategic role in engaging persons living with HIV and AIDS in care. In order to be successful in structuring HIV/AIDS programs in jails, health care and correctional officials will be well-served to: (1) understand the HIV/AIDS continuum of care from the standpoint of engagement interventions that promote participation; (2) be aware of jail, community, and prison interventions that promote engagement in care; (3) anticipate and plan for the unique barriers jails provide in implementing engagement interventions; and, (4) be creative in designing engagement interventions suitable for both newly and previously diagnosed individuals.