Assessing criminal justice involvement as an indicator of human immunodeficiency virus risk among women in methadone treatment

Epperson, Matthew W.; Khan, Maria R.; Miller, Daniel P.; Perron, Brian E.; El-Bassel, Nabila; Gilbert, Louisa

This study examines the relationship between criminal justice involvement and high-risk sexual partnerships among a random sample of 416 women in methadone treatment in New York City. Logistic regression models were used to estimate the associations between recent criminal justice involvement (arrest or incarceration in the past 6 months) and recent high-risk partnerships (multiple sex partners, sex trading, or sex with a risky partner in the past 6 months) when adjusting for sociodemographic factors and recent regular drug use. Women with recent criminal justice involvement demonstrated higher odds of engaging in high-risk sex partnerships. Although regular drug use was a significant confounder of several of these relationships, recent arrest or incarceration remained significantly associated with multiple sex partnerships, sex with a risky partner, and engaging in unprotected sex and a high-risk partnership even after controlling for regular drug use and other social stressors. This study highlights the vulnerability of drug-involved women offenders to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk and points to the need for investigation into the role of arrest and incarceration as factors that may contribute to HIV infection.

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Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

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Social Work
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April 3, 2012