Arrest History as an Indicator of Adolescent/Young Adult Substance Use and HIV Risk
December 11, 2006
Due to their "substantially high rates of risk behaviors, high rates of substance use disorders and psychopathology," young offenders are "particularly at risk for HIV," the authors wrote. They noted that while numerous studies have assessed the risk behaviors of youth in correctional settings, the current study "sought to determine if an arrest history could serve as a marker for HIV risk and substance abuse among a community-based sample of high-risk adolescents and young adults."
Subjects of the study were 1,400 adolescents with a mean age of 18. These young people participated in a larger multi-site HIV prevention program in Georgia, Florida and Rhode Island, providing baseline data on sexual risk, substance use, attitudes and mental health history. Based on self-reports of arrest history, the youths were classified as arrestees (404) or non-arrestees (996).
Arrestees reported more use of alcohol and drugs, substance use during sex, unprotected sex acts, STD diagnoses, suicide attempts and psychiatric hospitalizations than non-arrestees.
"Having an arrest history may serve as a marker for adolescent HIV risk and substance abuse," the authors concluded. "Effectively screening adolescents for legal history and responding to the psychosocial and health needs of these high-risk adolescents could increase necessary engagement in substance use and mental health treatment, reduce HIV risk in the community, and reduce costs to the legal, medical and mental health systems."
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
11.07.2006; doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2006.09.017; Marina Tolou-Shams; Larry K. Brown; Glenn Gordon; Isabel Fernandez; Project SHIELD Study Group
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.