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High Rates of Incarceration as a Social Force Associated with Community Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infection

Citation

Thomas, James C. & Sampson, Lynne A. (2005). High Rates of Incarceration as a Social Force Associated with Community Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infection. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 191(Suppl. 1), S55-60.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Some populations experience both high rates of incarceration and high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
METHODS: To estimate the strength of this correlation, we calculated age-adjusted Pearson correlation coefficients between rates of incarceration and of reportable STIs in the 100 counties of North Carolina in 1999.
RESULTS: Moderately strong correlations were found for chlamydia (r=0.577) and gonorrhea (r=0.521). The correlations between rates of incarceration and reported cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and syphilis were weak (r=0.205 and 0.004, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Hypothetical causes of the stronger associations included incarceration increasing the number of infected prisoners or the infectiousness of released prisoners; an imbalance in the community sex ratio; and the negative influences of high rates of incarceration on social disorganization and collective efficacy. The magnitude of incarceration as a major force in American society, its association with some STIs, and our lack of empirical data on the potential causal connections argue for a new direction in STI research.

URL

http://www.jstor.org/stable/30077756

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2005

Journal Title

Journal of Infectious Diseases

Author(s)

Thomas, James C.
Sampson, Lynne A.