Date of Conferral





Public Health


Paige Wermuth


As of the end of 2010, .9% (20,093) of the inmate population under the care of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons and 1.7% (2,394) of the inmate population under the care of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice were living with HIV/AIDS. The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to analyze the relationships between HIV/AIDS status and former inmate demographic characteristics, intravenous drug use (IDU), and social support networks. The behavior models of importation and deprivation formed the theoretical frameworks used to explore the relationship between HIV/AIDS and behavioral risk factors for released Texas prison inmates. Fifty former prison inmates in Texas were recruited through Prison Talk, an online prison and family support community, and asked to complete a 57-item web-based survey on demographic characteristics, IDU, and social support networks. Spearman correlation and multiple logistic regression analyses were used to test potential relationships between risk factors. A significant negative correlation was found between African American race and HIV infection (rs = -.31, p < .05). A significant positive correlation was found between IDU and HIV infection (rs = .49, p < .001). Logistic regression analysis confirmed IDU as a significant predictor of HIV infection (B = 3.99, OR = 54.33, p < .05); access to or a desire for social support were not found to be significant predictors of HIV infection. Decreasing IDU among former prison inmates was shown to be an important step in HIV/AIDS prevention. Findings from the study can provide policy makers, legislators, prison administrators, educators, and researchers with insight into the factors that contribute to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, possibly leading to positive social change by reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among former prison inmates and their partners.