Rural Incarcerated Women: HIV/HCV Knowledge and Correlates of Risky Behavior

Bridgette Peteet, Michele Staton, Brittany Miller-Roenigk, Adam Carle, Carrie Oser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Rural incarcerated women have an increased risk of acquiring the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) due to prevalent engagement in drug use and sexual behaviors. Limited research has investigated HIV and HCV knowledge in this high-risk population. Furthermore, the interplay of sociodemographic factors (i.e., education, age, income, and sexual orientation) and risky behavior is understudied in this population. The present study evaluated a sample of adult, predominately White women from rural Kentucky (n = 387) who were recruited from local jails. The sample had high HIV and HCV knowledge but also reported extensive risk behaviors including 44% engaging in sex work and 75.5% reporting a history of drug injection. The results of multiple regression analysis for risky sexual behavior indicated that sexual minority women and those with less HIV knowledge were more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors. The regression model identifying the significant correlates of risky drug behavior indicated that HIV knowledge, age, and income were negative correlates and that sexual minority women were more likely to engage in high-risk drug use. When HCV knowledge was added to the regression models already including HIV knowledge, the interaction was significant for drug risk. Interventions for rural imprisoned women should consider the varied impact of sociodemographic background and prioritize HIV education to more effectively deter risky sexual and drug behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-986
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to recognize the cooperation and partnership with the Kentucky Department of Corrections and the local jails: Laurel County Detention Center, Kentucky River Regional Jail, and the Leslie County Detention Center. The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by two grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA033866, Staton-Tindall, PI; R01DA033866-04S1, Peteet, PI).

Funding Information:
This study is a secondary analysis of a federally funded intervention grant. In the larger trial, participants were randomly selected from three local rural jails and screened for substance use using the NIDA-modified Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involved Screening Test (National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA] ASSIST, 2009). For the larger study, a total of 900 rural women were randomly selected for screening. Of the 688 women who participated in the screening session, 440 were eligible to participate. Forty were released early for a final sample of 400. Thirteen participants had incomplete data on the baseline measures and were excluded from the analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Society for Public Health Education.


  • HIV knowledge
  • HIV prevention
  • hepatitis C knowledge
  • incarcerated women
  • rural women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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