amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

HIV/AIDS in Correctional Settings: A Congressional Briefing


April 25, 2008—Experts on HIV/AIDS, criminal justice, and public health discussed strategies for addressing the disproportionately high rates of HIV/AIDS in correctional settings at an amfAR-sponsored congressional briefing held in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 2008.
The U.S. currently has more prisoners than any other country in the world; more than one in 100 adults were incarcerated at the end of 2006. HIV/AIDS prevalence among prisoners is more than three times greater than that of the general U.S. population, and communities of color, who are disproportionately represented in the correctional system, are affected at higher rates. Women whose partners have been in the correctional system are also increasingly affected by HIV.

At the briefing, titled HIV in Correctional Settings: Implications for Prevention and Treatment Policy, panelists spoke about effective prevention strategies, the need for HIV education among inmates, treatment and care during and after incarceration, and ways to address the needs of female ex-offenders and their families following release.

Moderated by Dr. Monica Ruiz, amfAR’s acting director of public policy, the briefing opened with remarks by Christos Tsentas, legislative aide to Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA). Featured speakers included Barry Zack, M.P.H., a consultant on correctional health programs and former executive director of Centerforce; Harold Atkins, a former inmate and HIV prevention peer educator; Dr. Josiah Rich, professor of medicine and community health at Brown University; and Darla Bardine, associate policy director and family treatment coordinator for the Rebecca Project for Human Rights.

The briefing was part of amfAR’s AIDS 20/20 briefing series, which is aimed at informing policymakers, advocates, the media, and the public about emerging issues in the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

To view the complete webcast of the briefing on, or to read amfAR’s issue brief, HIV in Correctional Settings: Implications for Prevention and Treatment Policy, and Summary of Recommendations, please use the links below.

Downloadable files and webcast