Abstract - Substance use and HIV risk behaviors among young men involved in the criminal justice system

Abstract - Substance use and HIV risk behaviors among young men involved in the criminal justice system

Objectives: We examined the relationship between substance
use and sexual HIV-risk behaviors among young men who have
been incarcerated, in order to understand how HIV risks develop
for this vulnerable population. Methods: A sample of 552
young men in a New York City jail was interviewed at the time
of incarceration. Bivariate analyses were performed to examine
demographic and sexual HIV-risk behavior differences between
men with and without recent alcohol and marijuana use. Logistic
regression was used to examine associations between alcohol
and marijuana use and sexual HIV-risk behaviors in the 90 days
prior to incarceration. Results: Respondents were predominantly
Black (57%) or Latino (37%), with a mean age of 17.4 years. The
most common substances used were marijuana (82%) and alcohol
(65%). Alcohol use prior to incarceration was significantly
associated with having three or more sexual partners in the same
time period (OR = 2.40, p < .001), as well as with having unprotected
sex with a long-term partner (OR = 1.72, p < .01). Marijuana
use was significantly associated with having multiple sex
partners (OR = 1.55, p < .01). Heavy alcohol and marijuana use
did not result in an increased likelihood of sexual HIV-risk behaviors.
Conclusions: High rates of substance use and unprotected sex
may have unintended health consequences for incarcerated young
men. Severity of substance use is not a significant predictor of
risk behaviors, suggesting the importance of contextual and social
factors. Results highlight the need for HIV prevention efforts
for this population that take into account contextual and social
factors.