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Breaking out: HIV treatment and care when PLWHIV transtition from custodial settings into the community

Breaking out: HIV treatment and care when PLWHIV transtition from custodial settings into the community

Background: People Living with HIV (PLHIV) who are transitioning from custodial settings are at risk of experiencing treatment interruptions and loss to follow up for vital HIV care. The NSW Persons In Custody HIV Community Referral Project (PICHCRP) aims to ensure PLHIV who are transitioning from custodial settings back into the community receive seamless HIV service, care and support.

Methods: PICHCRP working group members collated demographic and clinical data on PLHIV who were referred to the project using information from referral forms, feedback from clinicians and information from JH & FMHN & LHD (Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network & Local Health Districts) medical records. Data were then collated to examine common characteristics and themes associated with the population group.

Results: These data identifies demographic details of the 51 PLHIV who were referred to the project over a 23 month period. 16% (N=7) clients had multiple referrals. 25% (n=11) of clients referred identified as Aboriginal. 84% (21 of the eligible 25) clients were still linked in with HIV health supports six months after release from custody. 18% (n=9) refused access to PICHCRP services or were lost to follow up after release. 18% (8 of 44) of clients referred were re-incarcerated. Housing remains an important issue for PLHIV with only 39% (14 of 36) having secure housing on release. Further evaluation of the project by staff and clients identified a number of areas to develop engagement, care and support.

Conclusion: The PICHCRP systematises referral pathways for PLHIV transitioning back into the community from NSW custodial settings. The project also evaluates levels of engagement and contact with medical and psychosocial supports for this marginalised client group. Data illustrates the successful partnership between NSW Health LHD and JH & FMHN staff enabling streamlined service provision and improved client health and psychosocial outcomes. Finally, this presentation identifies practice methods which assist to challenge institutional barriers for this client group.

Conference: ASHM 2013

Australian Society for HIV 2013

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