Washington -- There were 22,480 state and federal inmates who were HIV infected or had confirmed AIDS on Dec. 31, 2005, which was a decrease from 22,936 at the end of 2004, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported today. The 2005 decline was the sixth consecutive year the number has fallen. In 1999 there were 25,807 state and federal inmates who were HIV infected or had confirmed AIDS.
During 2005 an estimated 176 state inmates died from AIDS-related causes, down from 185 in 2004. Except in 2001 the number of AIDS-related deaths in state prisons has decreased every year since 1995.
Between 1999 and 2005, New York state prisons, with a decrease of 2,560 inmates with HIV or confirmed AIDS, accounted for more than three-quarters (77 percent) of the reported national decline of 3,327.
During a slightly different time period (1997 through 2004) the percentage of HIV-infected state prison inmates had dropped for both male and female inmates, inmates 25 to 34 years old, drug offenders and inmates who reported prior drug involvement.
In each year since 1991, the rate of confirmed AIDS cases has been higher among prisoners than in the general population, but the gap has been narrowing. At the end of 2005 the rate of confirmed AIDS cases for state and federal prisoners was about 2.5 times that in the U.S. general population. In 1999 it had been nearly five times higher.
Between 1991 and 1995, the number of AIDS-related deaths in state prisons steadily increased, reaching a peak of 1,010 deaths in 1995. Since then, the number has declined by 83 percent. In 2005, 5 percent of state inmate deaths were attributable to AIDS, down from 34 percent in 1995.
The sharpest decline in AIDS-related deaths occurred between 1995 and 2000, when the number of deaths declined by 825. New York (down 250), Florida (down 102) and California (down 68) led the decline, accounting for more than half of the total decrease. Male inmates, inmates ages 35 to 44 and black non-Hispanic inmates accounted for most of the decline in AIDS-related deaths between 2001 and 2005.
The rate of AIDS-related deaths declined among both state prisoners and the U.S. general population between 1995 and 2001. Between 2001 and 2005, the rate in the U.S. general population remained relatively stable at about nine AIDS-related deaths per 100,000 persons ages 15 to 54, while the rate in state prisons continued to decline from 25 to 13 per 100,000 state prison inmates.
Between 2001 and 2005, the rate of AIDS-related deaths in state prisons declined across all age groups. Even with these decreases, older inmates in state prisons (ages 45 to 54) were about two times more likely to die from AIDS-related causes than their counterparts in the U.S. general population.
During 2005, 27 federal inmates died from AIDS-related causes, up from 18 in 2004. In 2005 the rate of death due to AIDS-related causes among federal prisoners was 15 per 100,000 inmates.
At the end of 2001 the responsibility for housing District of Columbia inmates was transferred to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. All HIV-positive inmates from the District of Columbia were included in the federal counts beginning in 2001.
The report, HIV in Prisons, 2005, was written by BJS statistician Laura M. Maruschak. Following publication it can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/hivp05.htm.