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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3182.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - 1:00 PM

Abstract #114165

HIV Prevention Programs for Incarcerated Youth - Why Are There Still So Few?

Nikki A. Herman-Shipley, PhD(abd), Department of Preventive Medicine, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, 1910 W. Sunset Blvd., Suite 650, Los Angeles, CA 90026, 310-991-1683, hermansh@scf.usc.edu, Thomas W. Valente, PhD, Keck School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, 1000 South Fremont, Unit 8, Room 5133, Alhambra, CA 91803, and Tamara Petro, MPH, Program Director, Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, 47 Clapboard Hill Road, Suite 6, Guilford, CT 06437.

The U.S. Juvenile Justice system comprises a large number of detained youth with a very low prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS (~ 1%); however, their documented widespread practice of risky behaviors, along with their lack of health care services, puts them at high risk of future infection. Despite the fact that juvenile detention facilities appear to provide an excellent opportunity to introduce risk reduction strategies to a readily accessible high risk population, it is seldom taken.

This presentation will a) describe and review all HIV/AIDS interventions targeting incarcerated youth; b) determine the efficacy of each of the program's design, strategies, measurement tools, and outcomes; and, c) discuss the complexities and disadvantages of implementing behavior change programs within the Juvenile Justice System. Studies and reports generated from computerized literature searches found that almost all U.S. Juvenile Correctional Institutes are implementing some type of an HIV/AIDS education program as part of their regular curriculum. However, only fourteen of these HIV/AIDS programs report including behavior change strategies. Furthermore, only 11 (75%) of these interventions included any type of evaluation. These data suggest that incarcerated youth do not have many opportunities for positive experiences to empower and support changing behaviors and in-turn reducing their risk of HIV infection. After release into the community, sustaining these behaviors may be insurmountable. Despite this, there are very few HIV education prevention programs in detention facilities throughout the U.S.