Knowledge and attitudes toward HIV/AIDS and HIV law among probationers and parolees in Alabama

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The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) epidemic recently moved into its fourth decade in the U.S. In an attempt to combat this epidemic, lawmakers have implemented HIV criminalization laws, prevention programs, and treatment options in order to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS. The number of prosecutions for violating HIV disclosure laws and the number of states implementing these laws continue to increase. However, the public health community is concerned that HIV disclosure laws do not reduce HIV transmission. This thesis seeks to examine the effects of HIV criminalization on the HIV testing and treatment by examining HIV knowledge and attitudes among probationers and parolees in Alabama. A self- administered 32 item survey was administered to 200 probationers and parolees in the Birmingham Probation and Parole Office for this purpose. The study found that (1) probationers and parolees are quite knowledgeable about HIV despite their lack of access to HIV prevention programs, (2) probationers and parolees who attend HIV prevention classes are more likely to perceive themselves as being at risk for contracting HIV compared to those who did not attend HIV prevention classes, and (3) HIV disclosure laws are perceived to be a barrier to HIV testing. These results suggest that probationers and parolees would benefit from HIV prevention classes, and that they are skeptical about the benefits of HIV laws to reduce transmission.

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Criminology, Sociology, Social work