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Exploring Recurrent Violent Trauma, Access to Care and HIV Risk Behaviors

Joseph Richardson aims to explain the relationship between violence and HIV/AIDS among young black men in Prince George's County

Violence is the leading cause of injury, disability and death among young Black men (ages 14-34). Young males (ages 15-24) are the most common firearm assault victims visiting the Emergency Department (ED), almost seven times more than the national average. People who reside in the lowest income zip codes are also about twice as likely to have an ED visit or be admitted to the hospital for firearm assault injuries. Approximately 30 percent of young Black men who suffer a violent injury will return to the emergency department (ED) for a similar injury within five years and 20 percent of this population will die. Trauma recidivists (individuals who have been hospitalized two or more times for harm) tend to be Black males, between the ages of 25-29, unemployed, uninsured and have experienced a previous incarceration of at least six months or more. According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the total lifetime medical and work loss costs of injuries and violence in the United States was $671 billion in 2013. The healthcare costs associated with violent injury among low-income young Black men imposes a significant burden on the healthcare system because this vulnerable population is more likely to be estranged and disconnected from the traditional healthcare system. Victims of firearm assault are disproportionately more likely to be uninsured. ED visits for these uninsured victims are nearly three times the national average. Their hospital admission rate is more than two times the national average.

A study conducted by the RAND Corporation (2009) on health disparities in Prince George’s County found homicide and HIV / AIDS to be significant health risk concerns for young African American men. HIV / AIDS is the fifth leading cause of death among young Black men. Despite several research studies which suggest a relationship between violence and HIV, little is known about the intersection of race, gender, violence and HIV. Dr. Richardson's study aims to qualitatively describe and assess the risk factors for recurrent violent injury, linkages / barriers to care and HIV risk behaviors among young Black men who have been victims of a violent injury in Prince George’s County, Maryland.