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HIV in Prisons, 2001-2010

ADVANCE FOR RELEASE AT 10:00 A.M. EDT Bureau of Justice Statistics
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2012                          Contact: Kara McCarthy (202) 307-1241
HTTP://WWW.BJS.GOV/ After hours: (202) 598-9320


WASHINGTON – AIDS-related deaths among all state and federal prisoners dropped from 24 deaths per 100,000 inmates in 2001 to five per 100,000 in 2010, according to a report by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). In 2010, 72 inmates in state prisons and seven in federal prisons died from AIDS-related causes.

The rate of AIDS-related deaths among all state and federal prison inmates declined on average about 16 percent each year from 2001 through 2010. Among all inmates with HIV/AIDS, the AIDS-related death rate dropped on average about 13 percent each year, from 134 deaths per 10,000 inmates with HIV/AIDS in 2001 to 38 per 10,000 in 2010.

In 2010, the estimated rate of HIV/AIDS among state and federal prisoners dropped to 146 cases per 10,000 inmates from 194 cases per 10,000 in 2001. This was an average decline of about three percent each year, consistent with the decline across states with small, medium and large prison inmate populations.

Based on the latest available data, the rate of AIDS-related deaths among persons ages 15 to 54 in the U.S. general population was seven deaths per 100,000 in 2009, which was slightly higher than the rate of six deaths per 100,000 inmates for AIDS-related deaths in state prisons for the same age group.

The number of male inmates in state or federal prisons who had HIV/AIDS declined from 19,027 at yearend 2009 to 18,337 at yearend 2010, while the number of females who had HIV/AIDS decreased from 1,853 to 1,756 over the one-year period.

The decrease in HIV/AIDS deaths among state prisoners was driven mainly by declines among males, black non-Hispanics, and inmates age 35 or older. The number of AIDS-related deaths among male state prisoners declined from 89 deaths in 2009 to 69 in 2010. Among black non-Hispanic state prisoners, it dropped sharply from 70 to 43 deaths, and among state prisoners age 35 or older the number dropped from 87 to 60 deaths. These declines in HIV/AIDS deaths were offset by slight increases among white non-Hispanic state prisoners (from 15 to 23 deaths) and prisoners under age 35 (from seven to 12 deaths). 

California, Florida, New York and Texas housed 51 percent of state prisoners with HIV/AIDS, but held 37 percent of all state prisoners in custody. As a percentage of their custody population, New York state prisons had the highest percentage of HIV/AIDS inmates (5.5 percent), followed by Louisiana (3.5 percent), and Maryland and Florida (3.2 percent each).

The findings in this report are based on information from BJS’s National Prisoner Statistics Program (which annually collects information from the 50 state departments of corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons on prisoner counts, characteristics, admissions and releases), and from BJS’s Deaths in Custody Reporting Program (which collects individual-level data on causes of inmate deaths and characteristics of inmates who died).

The report, HIV in Prisons, 2001-2010 (NCJ 238877), was written by BJS statistician Laura M. Maruschak. The report, related documents and additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/.

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The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.

Date Published: September 13, 2012