Linkage to Treatment and Supportive Services Among HIV-Positive Ex-Offenders in Project Bridge
Abstract

HIV-positive inmates often have histories of substance use, mental illness, and homelessness. Access to supportive services is important for members of this population upon their release from prison to improve continuity of medical care in the community. This paper briefly reviews Project Bridge, a federally funded demonstration project that provided intensive case management for HIV positive ex-offenders. Methods. Ex-offenders received 18 months of intensive case management by teams of a professional social worker and an outreach worker between May 2003 and December 2005. Client contacts were weekly for 12 weeks and, at a minimum, monthly thereafter. Results. Most clients (95%) received medical care throughout their enrollment. Of all clients in Project Bridge, 45.8% secured housing, 71% were linked to mental health care, and 51% were linked to addiction services. Conclusion. Despite high levels of addiction (97%) and mental health disorders (34% on medication), ex-offenders were retained in health care for a year after being released from incarceration.


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