HIV Risk Behaviors Among Probationers in Rural Kentucky: Preliminary Findings

Matthew L. Hiller, University of Kentucky
J. Matthew Webster, University of Kentucky
Heather Roberto, University of Kentucky
T.K. Logan, University of Kentucky
Carl G. Leukefeld, University of Kentucky

ABSTRACT
The prevalence of HIV/AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases is comparatively high among offenders. Nationally, approximately 2% of jail and prison inmates are HIV positive (Hammett, Harmon, & Maruschak, 1999). HIV seroprevalence rates vary across state correctional systems, and a recent study of drug-involved Kentucky prisoners showed that nearly 4% tested positive for HIV (Leukefeld, Staton, Hiller, et al., in press). As part of the NIDA-funded HIV Risk Reduction among Rural Drug Abusers Project, felony probationers in 29 rural Appalachian counties in Kentucky are being randomly assigned to one of two HIV prevention interventions, NIDA standard or a rural-focused intervention. This study parallels another HIV prevention project being conducted in Delaware on probationers in urban settings. Data from the first 125 probationers (72% male, 28% female) entered into the Kentucky study protocol showed that these probationers had high rates of HIV-risk behaviors. Overall, 18% had previously injected drugs and 90% had had unprotected sex in the preceding 6 months. Twenty-one percent had had a sexually transmitted disease. Higher rates of risk behavior among men were associated with recent alcohol use and receiving public support. Higher rates of risk behavior among women were associated with recent crack and/or sedative use.

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Updated 05/20/2006