Neurological function and HIV risk behaviors of female prison inmates

Kathleen Brewer-Smyth, Gabriel Bucurescu, Justine Shults, David Metzger, Ned Sacktor, Wilfred van Gorp, Dennis Kolson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to explain relationships between neurological dysfunction, HIV serological status, and HIV risk behaviors that have not been well understood. A secondary analysis was conducted on data from 117 female prison inmates. Another 18 female inmates from the same prison were further evaluated with more specific neurological, neuropsychological, and HIV risk behavior Risk Assessment Battery (RAB) measures. Neurological function, defined by valid, reliable quantitative measures of cognition, behavior/mood, cranial nerves, motor, reflexes, and sensation, was significantly correlated with HIV RAB scores (.743, p =.006), and RAB scale scores (.824, p =.001) in HIV negative, but not HIV-positive, inmates. Specifically, the reflex deficits subscale correlated with RAB scores (.779, p =.003) and RAB scale scores (.682, p =.015) in the HIV-negative group. These findings combined with subjects’ histories suggest cerebral dysfunction possibly contributes to HIV risk behaviors in certain high-risk female inmates predating HIV infection. These findings further suggest that HIV risk reduction should target neurologically impaired females as a high-risk group. Larger studies are needed to validate these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-372
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Medical–Surgical


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