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Home > Hepatitis C virus infection in EU/EEA and United Kingdom prisons: opportunities and challenges for action.

Nakitanda, Aya Olivia and Montanari, Linda and Tavoschi, Lara and Mozalevskis, Antons and Duffell, Erika (2020) Hepatitis C virus infection in EU/EEA and United Kingdom prisons: opportunities and challenges for action. BMC Public Health, 20, (1), p. 1670.

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BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission in the European Union, European Economic Area and United Kingdom is driven by injecting drug use (IDU), which contributes to the high burden of chronic infection among people in prisons. This study aimed to describe the context, epidemiology and response targeting HCV in prisons across the region.

METHODS: We retrieved and collated HCV-related data from the World Health Organization's Health in Prisons European Database and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's hepatitis C prevalence database. Prisons population data were obtained from the Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics on prison populations (SPACE I).

RESULTS: There were 12 to 93,266 people in prisons, with rates of 31·5 to 234·9 per 100,000 population. Median age was between 31 and 40 years, with up to 72% foreign nationals. Average detention time ranged from one to 31 months. Ministries of Health had sole authority over prisons health, budget administration and funding in 27, 31 and 8% of 26 reporting countries, respectively. Seroprevalence of HCV antibodies ranged from 2·3% to 82·6% while viraemic infections ranged from 5·7% to 8·2%, where reported. Up to 25·8 and 44% reported current and ever IDU, respectively. Eight countries routinely offered HCV screening on an opt-out basis. Needle and syringe programmes were available in three countries. Among the nine countries with data, the annual number of those who had completed HCV treatment ranged between one and 1215 people in prisons.

CONCLUSIONS: HCV burden in prisons remains high, amidst suboptimal levels of interventions. Systematic monitoring at both local and regional levels is warranted, to advance progress towards the elimination of HCV in the region.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco), Opioid
Intervention Type
Treatment method, Harm reduction
9 November 2020
Identification #
Page Range
p. 1670
BioMed Central

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