HIV seroprevalence and associated risk factors among male inmates at the Belize Central Prison

Ethan Gough, Paul Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


To determine the seroprevalence of HIV and identify associated risk factors among inmates at the Belize Central Prison, managed by the Kolbe Foundation, Belize. Methods. A voluntary sample of 623 participants was obtained from the male inmate population incarcerated during the period from 15 January to 5 March 2005. HIV serostatus was determined on location using the Abbott Determine Assay for HIV-1/2 for screening, and the MedMira MiraWell Rapid HIV-1/2 Test for confirmatory testing. Remaining serum was tested by ELISA at the Central Medical Laboratory, Belize. Demographic and risk behavior data were collected using an interviewer administered pre-tested questionnaire. A multivariate logistic regression was used to adjust for potential confounders and to identify independent associations with HIV seropositivity. Results. Of the 623 inmates in the sample, 25 tested positive for HIV-1/2 antibody for a seroprevalence of 4.0% (95% Confidence Interval 2.7, 6.0). After adjustment for confounding, HIV serostatus was positively associated with male-to-male sexual activity outside prison, age, and district of residence before current incarceration. Conclusions. The seroprevalence in the Central Prison was almost twice that estimated for the adult population of Belize in 2004 (2.4%). However, the social variables of importance to inmates appeared to reflect the epidemic in the general population, with the exception that male-to-male sex outside prison is likely more important to the male inmate population in Belize. The findings suggest that HIV is likely contracted by most inmates before their incarceration, largely due to same-sex activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-299
Number of pages8
JournalRevista Panamericana de Salud Publica/Pan American Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • Belize
  • HIV seroprevalence
  • Prisons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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