How Many Ex-Felons and Non-Ex-Felons in California Have HIV? … by Alice B. Clagett

Published on 15 October 2018

  • CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS (very approximately)
    • 20 percent of Californians are ex-felons
    • As of 2015, 0.8% of California prisoners had HIV
    • 63,264 ex-felons in California in 2017 have HIV
    • 62,448 ex-felons in California in 2015 had HIV
    • 59,631 HIV cases for non-ex-felons in California in 2015
    • 31,224,000 Californian non-ex-felons in 2015
    • 0.2% HIV rate for non-ex-felons in California in 2015
    • 122,079 HIV cases in California overall in 2015
  • CONCLUSIONS
    • About 20 percent, or 1 in 5, Californians are ex-felons
    • This subgroup accounts for a little over half the HIV cases in California
    • While most California prisoners are being tested for HIV, non-ex-felons may not be aware of their HIV status. The reported HIV rate among non-ex-felons may begin to increase as more and more people avail themselves of the annual tests provided for through Medicare and MediCal.
    • Comments on 2015 Prisoner HIV Incidence by State
      • The HIV incidence for both California ex-felons and California non-ex-felons is in the mid-range, compared to other states
      • Importance of Timely Statistical Reporting, Considering the quick-flash nature of the course of a pandemic
      • Are we at the beginning of an HIV pandemic upsurge?
      • I notice a great deal of variance in the HIV rates among prisoners by state
      • Request for clarification of figures for near zero HIV rate among prisoners in some states
    • HIV Screening and Viral Suppression in California Prisons May Be Helping Prevent the Spread of HIV Among HIV-Negative California Prison Populations
      • Are condoms available in prisons?

Dear Ones,

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS  (very approximately)

I read that 20 percent of Californians are ex-felons …

Link: “Study estimates U.S. population with felony convictions,” by Alan Flurry, 1 October 2017, in UGA Today, https://news.uga.edu/total-us-population-with-felony-convictions/ ..

… and that made me wonder about the HIV positive status of felons and ex-felons, compared to the general California population, and also about overall numbers of Californians with HIV.

I have crunched the most recent numbers I could find, as follows …

As of 2015, 0.8% of California prisoners had HIV … 

LInk: “HIV in Prisons, 2015 – Statistical Tables,” by Laura M. Maruschak and Jennifer Bronson, Ph.D., BJS Statisticians, August 2017, NCJ 250641, US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/hivp15st.pdf  … See “Appendix table 3. Estimated number of prisoners who had HIV in the custody of state and federal correctional authorities, by jurisdiction, 2010–2015”

. . . . .

Per Google, the California population in 2017 was 39.54 million.
Assuming that the HIV rate for ex-felons might be the same as that for California prisoners in 2015, then the number of ex-felons in California with HIV in 2017 might roughly be estimated as …

(the 2017 California population)   X    (the percent of Californians who are ex-felons)  X  (the 2015 California prison HIV rate)  =

39.54 million people  X  20% ex-felons  X 0.8% HIV rate = approximately 63,264 ex-felons in California in 2017 have HIV

. . . . .

On to the question of how many ex-felons in California have HIV …

Per Google, the California population in 2015 was 39.03 million.

For California overall, 122,079 people were living with HIV as of 2015 …

Link: “LocalData: California,” in AIDSVu, https://aidsvu.org/state/california/ ..

Of these, roughly 20% were ex-felons, for whom the HIV rate is roughly 0.8%. So the number of ex-felons in California with HIV in 2015 might roughly be estimated as …

(the 2015 California population)   X    (the percent of Californians who are ex-felons)  X  (the 2015 California prison HIV rate)  =

39.03 million people  X   20% ex-felons  X 0.8% HIV rate = approximately 62,448 ex-felons in California in 2015 had HIV

. . . . .

And now, back to the 122,079 people overall living with HIV in California as of 2016 … The number of these who were Californians and not ex-felons, might be estimated as ..

(122,079 Californians overall living with HIV in 2015)  less  (62,448 ex-felons with HIV in California in 2015) = approximately 59,631 HIV cases for non-ex-felons in California in 2015

. . . . .

Then, the number of Californian non-ex-felons in 2015 might be estimated as …

(the number of Californians in 2015)  less  (the number of Californian ex-felons in 2015) =

39.03 million people in California in 2015  X 4/5 non-ex-felons = 31,224,000 Californian non-ex-felons in 2015

. . . . .

Then  the HIV rate for Californian non-ex-felons in 2015 might be estimated as …

(the number of Californian non-ex-felons with HIV in 2015)  divided by  (the number of Californian non-ex-felons in 2015) …

(59,631 HIV cases for non-ex-felons in California in 2015)  divided by (31,224,000 Californian non-ex-felons in 2015)  =  0.2% HIV rate for non-ex-felons in California in 2015

. . . . .

To the total number of HIV cases in California in 2015 would be the non-ex-felon cases plus the ex-felon cases, as follows …

(59,631 HIV cases for non-ex-felons in California in 2015)  plus  (62,448 ex-felons in California in 2015 with HIV) = approximately 122,079 HIV cases in California overall in 2015 (which looks to be roughly accurate, based on other reading I did).

CONCLUSION

I am hoping that the above figures are a pretty good ballpark; a lot depends on getting timely, accurate data. Then there is the question of crunching the numbers accurately.

Overall, I notice that ..

  • About 20 percent, or 1 in 5, Californians are ex-felons
  • This subgroup accounts for a little over half the HIV cases in California
  • While most California prisoners are being tested for HIV, non-ex-felons may not be aware of their HIV status. The reported HIV rate among non-ex-felons may begin to increase as more and more people avail themselves of the annual tests provided for through Medicare and MediCal.

Comments on 2015 Prisoner HIV Incidence by State

The HIV incidence for both California ex-felons and California non-ex-felons is in the mid-range, compared to other state … It is much lower than I had intuited in 2015. But then, these figures are for 2015, and the bloom I intuited may have happened in the last 3 years.

Importance of Timely Statistical Reporting, Considering the quick-flash nature of the course of a pandemic. I feel it is important to place a priority on getting these statistics out to the general public in as timely fashion as possible, because we may be facing a logarithmic upsurge this year. In fact, for all we know, it may already have happened.

Are we at the beginning of an HIV pandemic upsurge? There is some small indication of an impending upsurge in the literature. For instance, in the below link, I found a statement that the California HIV rate had increased 5.4% between 2012 and 2016. The years 2017 and 2018 are still an open question.

Link: “California HIV Surveillance Report — 2016,” by CA Office of AIDS, California Department of Public Health, https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DOA/CDPH%20Document%20Library/California%20HIV%20Surveillance%20Report%20-%202016.pdf ..

I notice a great deal of variance in the HIV rates among prisoners by state. While the rate was 0.8% in California, it was 3% or more in Florida, Louisiana and New York …

Request for clarification of figures for near zero HIV rate among prisoners in some states. And there are some states … notably Montana and Nevada … with almost no HIV rate amongst prisoners. Whether this means they are being murdered, or that there is little HIV overall in those states, is a topic on which I ask clarification.

LInk: “HIV in Prisons, 2015 – Statistical Tables,” by Laura M. Maruschak and Jennifer Bronson, Ph.D., BJS Statisticians, August 2017, NCJ 250641, US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/hivp15st.pdf  … See “Appendix table 3. Estimated number of prisoners who had HIV in the custody of state and federal correctional authorities, by jurisdiction, 2010–2015”

HIV Screening and Viral Suppression in California Prisons May Be Helping Prevent the Spread of HIV Among HIV-Negative California Prison Populations

Also good news are statistics I read on HIV screening for California prisoners, which began in 2010. According to the below link, in 2013 California prisoners were screened for HIV, and almost all who tested positive were put on drug therapy. Of those, 88 percent attained viral suppression.

I have read that HIV-positive sexually active people who have attained viral suppression, and who use condoms … assuming that condoms are available to prisoners? … are much less likely to transmit HIV to their sexual partners. So the attainment of viral suppression among prisoners would be an important factor in preventing the spread of HIV among HIV-negative California prison populations.

Link: “California Prisons See Benefit in Routine HIV Testing,” by Barrett Newkirk, 26 February 2016, in ‘The Desert Sun,” https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/health/2016/02/26/california-prisons-hiv/80987912/ ..

n love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars
…………………..

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imprisonment, California, correctional system, community health, HIV, AIDS,

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