HIV Care among Recently Released HIV+ Jail Inmates (The VIBE Study)

Funded by the California HIV/AIDS Research Program (CHRP); Grant #ID09-SD-016; PI: Robin Pollini

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One out of every four HIV+ persons in the U.S. spends time in jail or prison each year, and in California at least 1,500-2,500 HIV+ inmates are released back into the community annually. For many, the correctional system provides a stable environment in which to engage in HIV care, and most incarcerated inmates do well on antiretroviral therapy (ART). After release, however, most experience a disruption in care, with >90% discontinuing use of HIV medications for at least a short period of time. Discontinuing ART can lead to disease progression and antiviral resistance, as well as higher viral loads that increase the likelihood of HIV transmission. This problem is of special concern in communities of color, which bear a disproportionate burden of incarceration, AIDS mortality and HIV infection. 

This pilot study examines barriers and facilitators to continuing HIV care among HIV+ adults recently released from jail in San Diego County. 

The study employs a longitudinal mixed methods design to fulfill the following aims:

  1. Determine the proportion of HIV+ inmates who continue HIV medical care after release.
  2. Describe the contexts in which HIV+ former inmates either continue or discontinue care after release.
  3. Characterize how barriers and facilitators to care change during the community reentry period.