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HIV in Prisons, 2006


               Laura M. Maruschak, BJS Statistician


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Right arrow Press release | PDF format (328K)


This web page provides the number of state and federal inmates who were infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or had confirmed AIDS at yearend 2006. Presented in the report is the number of AIDS-related deaths in prisons, a profile of those inmates who died, the number of female and male prisoners who were HIV positive, and circumstances under which inmates were tested for HIV. Findings are based on yearend 2006 data from the National Prisoner Statistics series. NCJ 222179

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Highlights

  • Between 2005 and 2006, the number of HIV-positive prisoners decreased 3.1% from 22,676 to 21,980 while the overall prison custody population grew 2.2% during the same period.
  • At yearend 2006, 1.6% of male inmates and 2.4% of female inmates in state and federal prisons were known to be HIV positive or to have confirmed AIDS.
  • Three states, New York (4,000), Florida (3,412), and Texas (2,693), housed nearly half (49%) of all inmates known to be infected with HIV or to have confirmed AIDS in state prisons at yearend 2006.
  • New York continued to see a large decrease (down 440) in the number of HIV/AIDS cases. Other notable decreases at yearend were in Georgia (down 98) and California (down 94).
  • The overall rate of estimated confirmed AIDS among the prison population (0.46%) was more than 2½ times the rate in the U.S. general population (0.17%).
  • During 2006, 167 inmates in state and federal prisons died from AIDS-related causes down from 203 in 2005.
  • Florida reported the largest number of AIDS-related deaths (28), followed by New York (14), Pennsylvania (13), Georgia (10), and Louisiana (10).

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HIV infection by region and state

On December 31, 2006, 20,450 state prisoners were HIV positive or had confirmed AIDS, down from 21,084 in 2005. At yearend 2006, the Northeast reported the largest percentage of HIV/AIDS cases based on its custody population (3.6%). Half of all HIV/AIDS cases were held in the South, nearly a third in the Northeast, and about a tenth in both the Midwest and the West. Three states—North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming—held fewer than 10 HIV-positive inmates in their prisons. Six states reported that less than 0.5% of their inmate population was HIV positive. Between 2005 and 2006, 16 states and the federal prison system reported a decrease in the number of HIV-positive inmates; 25 states reported an increase.

At yearend 2006, less than 1% (1,530) of all federal inmates were reported to be HIV positive or to have confirmed AIDS. Between 2005 and 2006, the percentage of HIV/AIDS cases in the federal system decreased slightly from 1% to 0.9%.  

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HIV infection by gender

On December 31, 2006, an estimated 21,980 state and federal inmates (male 19,842; female 2,138) were known to be HIV positive or to have confirmed AIDS. This number was down for male inmates and up for female inmates from 2005.

New York (3,650) reported the largest number of male HIV-positive inmates, followed by Florida (3,041), and Texas (2,409). Florida (371) reported the largest number of female HIV-positive inmates, followed by New York (350), and Texas (284).

One state—New York (6%)—reported that over 5% of its male inmate population was known to be HIV positive. Three states—New York (12.2%), Florida (7.6%), and New Jersey (7.6%)—reported that over 5% of their female inmates were HIV positive.

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Confirmed AIDS cases

At yearend 2006, a reported 5,674 inmates in state (5,018) and federal (656) prisons reported having confirmed AIDS, up from 5,422 in 2005. Confirmed AIDS cases made up 0.5% of those in state prisons and 0.4% of those in federal prisons. More than a quarter (26%) of inmates known to be HIV positive were reported to have confirmed AIDS.

For states that did not provide a breakdown of the number of HIV cases by type of infection, estimates of the number of confirmed AIDS cases were made to provide comparable year-to-year data. Based on yearly estimates, the number of confirmed AIDS cases increased from 5,620 in 2005 to 5,977 in 2006.

Massachusetts and New York reported the highest percentage of confirmed AIDS (both 1.3%), followed by Maryland (1.2%) and North Carolina (1.1%). In four states—Maine, Kansas, West Virginia, and Wyoming—confirmed AIDS comprised less than 0.05% of state inmates. Maine and Wyoming reported having no confirmed AIDS cases.

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AIDS-related deaths


During 2006, an estimated 155 state inmates died from AIDS-related causes, down from 176 in 2005. Of those 155 deaths, 148 were male inmates and 7 were female inmates. More than three-quarters (77%) of AIDS-related deaths were among state inmates age 35 to 54. Black non-Hispanic inmates accounted for nearly three-quarters (74%) of state inmates who died from AIDS-related causes.

AIDS-related deaths as a percent of total deaths in state prisons decreased significantly between 1995 and 2006, from 34.2% to 4.6%. Over a slightly different time period (1995 to 2005, the most recent year for which data are available), AIDS-related deaths as a percent of all deaths in the general population declined from 12.9% to 3.8%.

Between 2001 and 2005, the rate of AIDS-related deaths among prison inmates as a percent of all deaths in the prison population was nearly cut in half (from 10.3% to 5.3%). However, the rate in the general population remained stable at about 4%.

Between 1995 and 2001, the rate of AIDS-related deaths in State prison declined from 100 deaths per 100,000 inmates to 25 per 100,000. In the general population the rate dropped from 29 per 100,000 to 9 per 100,000 persons ages 15 to 54. After 2001, while the rate of AIDS-related deaths in the State prison population declined, from 25 to 11 per 100,000 inmates in 2006, the rate in the general population ages 15 to 54 declined from 9 to 6 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2006.

Among federal inmates, 12 died from AIDS-related causes in 2006, down from 27 in 2005. For every 100,000 federal inmates, 6 died from AIDS-related causes. AIDS-related deaths accounted for less than 4% of all deaths in federal prisons.

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HIV testing in prisons


In 2006, 21 states reported testing all inmates for HIV at admission or sometime while in custody. Forty-seven states and the federal system reported testing inmates if they have HIV-related symptoms or if they requested an HIV-test. Forty states and the federal system test inmates after they are involved in an incident in which an inmate is exposed to a possible HIV transmission, and 16 states and the federal system test inmates who belong to specific “high-risk” groups.

Missouri, Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Nevada test all inmates for HIV upon their release. North Dakota, Idaho, and Nevada test all inmates while in custody. New York, Nevada, Arkansas, Oregon, and the federal system test inmates selected at random.

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Statistical tables

Table 1. Inmates in custody of state or federal prison authorities and reported to be positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or to have confirmed AIDS, 2004-2006.
Table 2. Inmates in custody of state and federal prison authorities and reported to be positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or to have confirmed AIDS by gender, 2006.
Table 3. Inmates in custody of state or federal prison authorities and known to have confirmed AIDS, yearend 2005 and 2006.
Table 4. Percent with confirmed AIDS among state and federal prisoners and the U.S. general population, 1999-2006.
Table 5. Deaths of state prisoners, 2006.
Table 6. Inmate deaths in federal prisons by cause, 2005 and 2006.
Table 7. Profile of inmates who died in state prisons, 2004-2006.
Table 8. Percent of AIDS-related deaths among all deaths in state prisons and the U.S. general population.
Table 9. Rate of AIDS-related deaths in state prisons and the U.S. general population.
Table 10. Circumstances under which inmates were tested for the antibody to HIV by jurisdiction, 2006.

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Methodology

National Prisoner Statistics


The National Prisoner Statistics collection (NPS-1), which primarily measures prison population movement, began in 1926. The NPS-1 includes yearend counts of prisoners by jurisdiction, gender, race, Hispanic origin, and admissions and releases during the year. The series consists of reports from the departments of corrections in the 50 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In 1991 BJS began collecting data on HIV/AIDS in prisons in NPS-1. BJS respondents have indicated the circumstances under which inmates are tested for HIV and have provided the number of HIV-infected inmates in their custody.

Deaths in Custody Reporting Program

To implement the Death in Custody Reporting Act of 2000 (PL 106-297), BJS developed four quarterly data collections of death records from local jails (begun in 2000), state prisons (2001), state juvenile correctional agencies (2002), and state and local law enforcement agencies (2003). Records include data on the deceased's characteristics (such as age, gender, race, and Hispanic origin), criminal background (such as legal status, offenses, and time in custody), and the death itself (such as cause, time, location, and medical conditions and treatment).

Estimation of HIV/AIDS cases in New York State

New York estimates the number of HIV/AIDS cases based on data from blind sero-prevalence studies conducted biennially by the New York State Department of Health. Blood samples are taken from all inmates entering New York State prisons. Every other year an extra sample from 1,000 sequential admissions at reception in four reception centers is tested for various diseases, including HIV. The percentage with HIV infection is applied to the total inmate population, then adjusted for length of stay and data from other studies. Projections for interim years are made without blind studies.

AIDS in the U.S. resident population

The number of persons with confirmed AIDS in the U.S. general population (age 13 and older) was derived from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV/ AIDS Surveillance Report, yearend editions 1999 to 2006. For each year the number of active AIDS cases in the United States was calculated by taking the cumulative number of total AIDS cases for persons age 13 or older at yearend (from the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report), minus estimated confirmed AIDS cases in state and federal prisons, and subtracting the cumulative number of AIDS deaths for people age 15 or older at yearend, minus estimated number of AIDS-related deaths in state and federal prisons.

The rate of confirmed AIDS cases in the U.S. general population was calculated by — dividing the annual total number of individuals with AIDS by the estimated U.S. general population (age 13 or older before 2000; age 15 or older since 2000) minus the state and federal custody population.

AIDS-related deaths in the United States

The number of AIDS-related deaths for persons ages 15 to 54 was based on the CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, yearend editions. Deaths in the U.S. population for persons ages 15 to 54 were taken from the CDC, Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 45, No. 11(S). Also deaths were taken from the CDC, National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 52, No. 3; Vol. 53, No. 5; Vol. 53, No. 15; and Vol. 54, No. 19. For 2005, U.S. general population deaths can be found in National Center for Health Statistics, Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2005.

For 2001 to 2005, AIDS-related deaths were calculated as a percent of all deaths among persons ages 15 to 54 in the U.S. general population. The difference of the national estimate of AIDS deaths of persons ages 15 to 54 minus AIDS-related deaths of persons ages 15 to 54 in state prison was divided by the national mortality estimates of persons ages 15 to 54 minus total deaths in state prisons.

For 2001 through 2005, the rates of AIDS-related deaths in the general population were calculated by taking the difference of the national estimate of AIDS-related deaths for persons ages 15 to 54 minus AIDS-related deaths for those ages 15 to 54 in state prisons and dividing it by the U.S. general population estimate minus the state prison population ages 15 to 54.

Because data on AIDS-related deaths by age in state prisons were not collected prior to 2001, the total number of AIDS-related deaths in state prison were subtracted from the national estimate of AIDS-related deaths for the 1995 rate calculations.

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Related publications

HIV in Prisons, 2005, 09/07. Provides the number of HIV-positive and active AIDS cases among state and federal prisoners at yearend 2005. NCJ 218915

HIV in Prisons, 2004, 11/06. NCJ 213897
HIV in Prisons, 2003, 9/05. NCJ 210344
HIV in Prisons and Jails, 2002, 12/04. NCJ 205333
HIV in Prisons, 2001, 01/04. NCJ 202293
HIV in Prisons, 2000, 10/02. NCJ 196023
HIV in Prisons and Jails, 1999, 7/01. NCJ 187456
1998 tables on HIV in Prisons are available in spreadsheets in zip format (20K). 4/00
HIV in Prisons, 1997 11/99. NCJ 178284
HIV in Prisons and Jails, 1996, 7/99. NCJ 174437
HIV in Prisons and Jails, 1995, 8/97. NCJ 164260
HIV in Prisons, 1994, 3/96. NCJ 158020
HIV in Prisons and Jails, 1993, 8/95. NCJ 152765



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