A new study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine reveals that incarceration raises the number of people who involve themselves in loose sexual conducts just as longer prison sentences achieves the same thing, and equally raises the risks of HIV transmission.
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The researchers from the University of Michigan used computer model to show that the more people are sent to prison, and for longer terms, the more the chances of spreading HIV infection via multiple sexual partners.
The researchers showed that 954 men out of every 100,000 were sent to jail in 2009, and 68 out of every 100,000 women went to jail within the same period – showing that more men go to prison than women, and hence the need to focus the study on men.
"The model shows that simply removing men and returning them to the community frequently can increase the number of sexual partners that both men and women have in the community," said Dr. Andrea Knittel in a journal, a researcher at the University of California San Francisco.
"It supports the assertion that mass incarceration has complicated and far-reaching unintended consequences, and may have significant public health implications," he added in a journal piece.
The Michigan University scientists based their computer model on 250 simulated people within a community – they all date and have sexual relationships with one another.
Then they conducted a simulation to determine the number of sexual partners that each man and woman within the community has, accompanied with another simulation of incarcerations and how these could affect dating and sexual relationships within the said community.
They ultimately discovered via their simulations that the more men and women are sent to prisons, coupled with how long they stay imprisoned, raised the chances of increasing sexual partners and thereby spreading HIV.
"Our model showed that high levels of incarceration likely play a role in community-level sexual behavior, and are likely detrimental in terms of sexual risk for HIV and other STDs," Knittel said.
"The results suggest that reducing incarceration and creating a more open criminal justice system that supports the maintenance of inmates' relationships to reduce instability of partnerships for men who are incarcerated may have important sexual health and public health implications," he added.
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