Compared to the general population, U.S. prison inmates have a high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and an elevated incidence of the resulting acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Inmates at highest risk of being HIV-positive are those with a pre-incarceration history of intravenous drug use. In some state prison systems, AIDS has become the leading cause of death among inmates. Prisoners have a constitutional right to adequate health care interpreted by many to include voluntary HIV testing and treatment to delay the onset of AIDS. More research is needed in order to better design and fund HIV testing treatment, and risk-reduction programs for inmates. To this end, a research agenda is outlined.
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