Substance misuse and addiction are common among individuals involved in the criminal justice system and contribute to higher rates of HIV infection among this population. Drug courts provide an alternative to incarceration for persons who are convicted of drug-related charges and offer a potential venue for providing HIV prevention services.
The aims of the proposed study are to 1) adapt an evidence-based small-group HIV risk reduction intervention originally developed for male drug treatment clients for individual delivery in a drug court setting;2) To conduct a cross-sectional survey to assess HIV/STD sexual risk behaviors of offenders in Mississippi drug court programs assessing differences in risk behavior by judicial district, by offender characteristics (e.g., age, race), by length of drug court participation, readiness to change (stage of change) sexual risk behaviors, and the personal, partner, social, and contextual barriers to safer sexual practices;and 3) to conduct a pilot feasibility study of the adapted intervention within an intensive drug court program. Formative research to adapt the intervention will occur in the first 14 months of the project in four adult drug courts. Semi- structured interviews will be conducted with 24 drug court and drug treatment personnel to guide intervention adaptation and integration of the intervention into the drug court program. Self report measures will be collected from 200 drug court offenders to check the psychometric properties of proposed measures and to pre-test the measures for use in the pilot feasibility study. In the second phase of the project, a pilot feasibility study will be conducted in a single drug court. Forty (40) male drug court offenders will receive the adapted intervention. Subjects in the pilot feasibility study will be assessed at pre-intervention, immediately after the intervention and 3-months post intervention on sexual risk behavior, partner risk factors, level of readiness to change, and psychosocial correlates of safer sex. Data analyses will assess the effectiveness of the intervention and determine the appropriateness of proceeding with an R01 application to test the intervention in an adequately powered randomized clinical trial. The project has the potential of making a significant contribution by demonstrating that drug court offenders are in need of HIV prevention services and that an HIV sexual risk reduction intervention can be integrated into drug court programs.

Public Health Relevance

Participants in drug court programs are a high risk population that is not currently being targeted for HIV risk reduction interventions. This project will examine HIV/STD sexual risk behavior of drug court offenders, and will adapt an evidence-based sexual risk reduction intervention for drug court participants. The project has the potential of making a significant contribution for improving our understanding of HIV risk behaviors and factors thought to influence HIV risk behaviors among this population and for demonstrating that HIV prevention intervention services can be integrated into criminal justice community supervision.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Behavioral and Social Consequences of HIV/AIDS Study Section (BSCH)
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Wiley, Tisha R A
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Mississippi State University
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Mississippi State
United States
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Robertson, Angela A; St Lawrence, Janet S; McCluskey, D Lee (2012) HIV/STI Risk Behavior of Drug Court Participants. J Offender Rehabil 51:453-473