Prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV and risk factors in entrants to Irish prisons: a national cross sectional survey.

Abstract:

OBJECTIVES:To determine the prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen, hepatitis C virus, and HIV in entrants to Irish prisons and to examine risk factors for infection. DESIGN:Cross sectional, anonymous survey, with self completed risk factor questionnaire and oral fluid specimen for antibody testing. SETTING:Five of seven committal prisons in the Republic of Ireland. PARTICIPANTS:607 of the 718 consecutive prison entrants from 6 April to 1 May 1999. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:Prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen, hepatitis C virus, and HIV in prison entrants, and self reported risk factor status. RESULTS:Prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen was 37/596 (6%; 95% confidence interval 4% to 9%), to hepatitis C virus was 130/596 (22%; 19% to 25%), and to HIV was 12/596 (2%; 1% to 4%). A third of the respondents had never previously been in prison; these had the lowest prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen (4/197, 2%), to hepatitis C (6/197, 3%), and to HIV (0/197). In total 29% of respondents (173/593) reported ever injecting drugs, but only 7% (14/197) of those entering prison for the first time reported doing so compared with 40% (157/394) of those previously in prison. Use of injected drugs was the most important predictor of antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen and hepatitis C virus. CONCLUSIONS:Use of injected drugs and infection with hepatitis C virus are endemic in Irish prisons. A third of prison entrants were committed to prison for the first time. Only a small number of first time entrants were infected with one or more of the viruses. These findings confirm the need for increased infection control and harm reduction measures in Irish prisons.

journal_name

BMJ

authors

Long J,Allwright S,Barry J,Reynolds SR,Thornton L,Bradley F,Parry JV

doi

10.1136/bmj.323.7323.1209

keywords:

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2001-11-24 00:00:00

pages

1209-13

issue

7323

eissn

0959-8138

issn

1756-1833

journal_volume

323

pub_type

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