The Institute was mandated by the Illinois General Assembly under the African American
HIV/AIDS Response Act, P.L. 94-0629 of 2005, to explore the plausible link between
incarceration and HIV infection.
* Phase I (Completed)- a cross sectional study to determine the prevalence of high-risk
HIV transmission behaviors in Illinois prisons. See Executive Summary
The HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute at CSU recently concluded a cross-sectional
study of CSU students to determine the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors
of college students regarding HIV prevention. See Student Study Group Survey.
Dr. Esther Jenkins of the department of psychology under a mini grant from the Institute
conducted a series of focus groups with female African American students at two campuses
of the City Colleges of Chicago. See Focus Group Summary.
We surveyed state prison officials to 1) assess HIV testing and HIV prevention policies
in the 50 states, and 2) determine whether those policies are associated with the
characteristics of the state and its prison population. Qualitative data collected
from a subset of state prison systems were used to explore reasons why some states
have recently adopted peer education and other HIV prevention programs, while others
have ended them. We found that peer education programs are perceived as highly effective
but there remain barriers to their widespread adoption.
The prevalence rate of HIV in jails and prisons nationally is approximately 5 times
the rate in the general population. Most of this elevated HIV prevalence in jails
and prisons is likely due to pre-incarceration behavior rather than sexual or drug-related
transmission within the institution. The current project is part of a larger project
to adapt peer outreach models for drug treatment programs in jails and prisons. In peer outreach models
such as Self-Help in Eliminating Life-threatening Diseases (SHIELD) participants are
trained to be Peer Educators and are taught strategies to reduce HIV risk, as well
as communication skills to teach these strategies to family, friends and other members
of their social networks. It is as yet unknown whether training in peer outreach can
be adapted for jails or prisons. Data for the adaptation of the SHIELD curriculum
for a jail setting will be collected through qualitative focus groups and individual
interviews with recently incarcerated individuals.
This formative research project seeks to understand the skills, workforce composition,
and structural factors that influence culturally competent HIV care for African American
The HIV/AIDS Research and Policy Institute is home to the Urban Mindfulness and Addictions
Research (CUMAR) program. This five-year program is funded by a grant from the National
Institute on Drug Abuse. The program seeks to understand how Mindfulness Meditation
can assist in preventing relapse among recovering drug users involved in the criminal
CUMAR is structured around four studies ranging from the neurochemistry and the neuroscience
of mindfulness; to meditation as a tool for substance abuse case managers as they
approach their work; to meditation as a strategy for substance abusers as they seek
to remain clean and sober and improve their health. CUMAR reaches across disciplines
at CSU and promotes participation and cooperation among scholars from Pharmacy, Health
Studies, Social Work, and Psychology.