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HIV in Prisons, 2021

NCJ Number
Laura M. Maruschak
Date Published
March 2023
30 pages

This report provides data on persons in the custody of state and federal correctional authorities who were known to be living with HIV in 2021. The report presents national- and jurisdiction-level estimates of the number and rate of prisoners living with HIV while in the custody of state and federal correctional authorities. Jurisdictional data on HIV testing practices during intake, while in custody, and during discharge planning are also included.


  • At yearend 2021, an estimated 11,810 persons with HIV were in the custody of state and federal correctional authorities, down from 12,060 in 2020.
  • At yearend 2021, about 1.1% of persons—1.2% of males and 0.9% of females—in state and federal prison were living with HIV.
  • In 2021, of the 50 jurisdictions reporting their HIV testing practices, 16 jurisdictions (which accounted for 40% of prison admissions) conducted mandatory HIV testing during intake.
  • In 2021, a total of 18 jurisdictions offered HIV tests during routine medical exams of persons in custody, up from 11 in 2017.