Emergency department utilization by people living with HIV released from jail in the US South

Alfredo G. Puing, Xilong Li, Josiah Rich, Ank E. Nijhawan, Ank E. Nijhawan, Ank E. Nijhawan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Incarceration is disruptive to HIV care, often resulting in poor retention in care for people living with HIV (PLWH) after jail release. This gap in HIV care might result in potentially preventable emergency department (ED) utilization. We analyzed demographic, incarceration, socioeconomic and clinical data for PLWH released from the Dallas County Jail to the community (1450 incarcerations, 1155 unique individuals) between January 2011 and November 2013. Results: The study population consisted of predominantly men (77%), with a mean age of 39 years, 67% were black and 14% were Hispanic; half of the releasees visited the ED at least once during the first-year post-jail. In adjusted analyses, female gender, family awareness of HIV status, serious mental illness, and late engagement to HIV care were significantly associated with higher ED utilization. Compared to the general Dallas population, PLWH released from jail had a 5-fold higher proportion of ED visits classified as related to substance use or mental health. Conclusions: Further efforts are needed to improve the transition from incarceration to community-based HIV care, substance use disorder treatment and mental health services, and to directly address re-engagement in HIV care for out-of-care PLWH who visit the ED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalHealth and Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 27 2020


  • Emergency department
  • HIV
  • Jail

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Law


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