Via Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved by Nina T. Harawa, Jeffery Sweat, Sheba George, Mary Sylla


Few data are available on factors contributing to sexual activity and condom use in custody settings, particularly among self-identified sexual minority prisoners. To address this gap, we undertook a study of sexual behavior and condom use of 101 randomly-selected men who have sex with men (MSM) and male-to-female transgender inmates in a segregated Los Angeles jail unit that has weekly condom access. Most survey participants (53%) reported anal sex during custody. Although 65% of these reported using condoms, 75% also reported having sex without condoms. Qualitative interviews (n=17) indicate a wide range of reasons for participating in protected and unprotected sex during custody, the use of cues within the custody environment to assess potential partners HIV status, and support for increased condom availability. Findings also indicate that high-risk sex occurs frequently in this unit and that condom distribution likely prevents a substantial amount of related HIV/STD risk.

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