Transmission of Hepatitis C Virus among Prisoners, Australia, 2005-2012.
ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is predominantly transmitted between persons who inject drugs. For this population, global prevalence of HCV infection is high and incarceration is common and an independent risk factor for HCV acquisition. To explore HCV transmission dynamics in incarcerated populations, we integrated virus sequences with risk behavior and spatiotemporal data and analyzed transmission clusters among prisoners in Australia. We detected 3 clusters of recent HCV transmission consisting of 4 likely in-custody transmission events involving source/recipient pairs located in the same prison at the same time. Of these 4 events, 3 were associated with drug injecting and equipment sharing. Despite a large population of prisoners with chronic HCV, recent transmission events were identified in the prison setting. This ongoing HCV transmission among high-risk prisoners argues for expansion of prevention programs to reduce HCV transmission in prisons.
Project description:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a widespread problem in prisons. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of HCV seropositivity, HCV genotypes, factors associated with HCV seropositivity in newly incarcerated prisoners and to report experiences of treatment with pegylated interferon/ribavirin for HCV-positive inmates.Patient data were extracted from the Estonian prison medical information system (Vanglate meditsiiniline infosüsteem) databases.Among 1845 prisoners newly incarcerated from January 2014 to January 2015, the overall prevalence of HCV was 56.3% (95% CI: 54 to 59), and 25.5% (95% CI: 23.5 to 27.6%) had HIV (39.0% had neither). The all-inclusive HCV testing strategy identified 37.7% more HCV infected prisoners than the risk-based (drug use history, HIV status) case finding. Factors associated with HCV seropositivity included history of drug use (aOR 6.51 95%CI 5.12-8.28), HIV co-infection (aOR 2.56 95%CI 1.92-3.43), previous incarceration (aOR 3.61 95%CI 2.48-4.04), and increasing age. The main HCV genotypes were 3a (n?=?172, 44.4%) and 1b (n?=?135, 35.2%). Twenty-five prisoners received HCV treatment: 60% (n?=?15) were cured, 16% (n?=?4) relapsed (3 with genotype 3a, one with 1b), and 12% (n?=?3) were unresponsive (all with genotype 3a).HCV seropositivity rate is high and HCV tretment rate is very low in Estonian prisons. Optimizing case finding and scaling up treatment is critical to addressing the health needs of prisoners and meeting public health goals.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Sub Saharan African (SSA) prisons have seen a substantial increase in women prisoners in recent years. Despite this increase, women prisoners constitute a minority in male dominated prison environments, and their special health needs are often neglected. Research activity on prison health remains scant in SSA, with gathering of strategic information generally restricted to infectious diseases (human immunodeficiency virus infection HIV/tuberculosis TB), and particularly focused on male prisoners. Health care provisions for women (and pregnant women) in SSA prisons are anecdotally reported to fall far short of the equivalence care standards mandated by human rights and international recommendations, and the recent agreements set out in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Minimum Standards for HIV in Prisons.<h4>Methods</h4>A scoping review mapped what is currently known about women prisoners' health experiences, unique prison health care needs and health care outcomes in SSA. A systematic search collected and reviewed all available and relevant published and grey literature (2000-2017). Following removal of duplicates and application of exclusion measures, 46 records remained, which represented 18 of the 49 SSA countries. These records were subsequently charted and thematically analysed.<h4>Results</h4>Three themes were generated; 'The Prison Regime'; 'Navigating inside the Prison Health Infrastructure' and 'Accessing the outside Community and Primary Care Health Services'. Women in SSA prisons experience the same substandard nutrition, overcrowding and unhygienic conditions which exacerbate poor health and infectious disease transmission as males. Human rights abuses, substandard prison conditions and poor access to prison based and community clinical care, along with the invisible nature of women and that of their unique health needs are deplorable.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The review has highlighted the dearth of gender specific strategic information on women prisoners in the region, appalling environmental conditions and prison health care provision, and violation of human rights for those incarcerated. Enhanced donor support, resource allocation, prison health and population health policy reform, health systems surveillance and gender sensitive prison health service provision is warranted. This will help address women prisoners' conditions and their specific health needs in SSA prisons, and ultimately bridge the gap between prison and population health in the region.
Project description:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is prevalent among people in prison and prisons could therefore represent a unique opportunity to test risk groups for HCV. The aim of this sero-epidemiological study was to determine the incidence and prevalence of HCV infection and the corresponding risk factors in Danish prisons. Participants, recruited from eight Danish prisons, were tested for HCV using dried blood spots and filled out a questionaire with demographic data and risk factors for HCV infection. In total, 76.9% (801/1041) of all eligible prisoners consented to participate. The prevalence of HCV RNA positive prisoners was 4.2% (34/801) and the in-prison incidence rate was 0.7-1.0 per 100PY overall and 18-24/100PY among PWIDs. Infected prisoners were older than the overall population with a mean age of 42 years and only 17.6% (6/34) were younger than 35 years. The prevalence of PWID was 8.5% (68/801) and only 3% (2/68) of PWID were younger than 25 years. Among the PWID, 85.3% (58/68) had ever received opioid substitution therapy (OST) and 47.1% (32/68) were currently receiving OST. Risk factors associated with HCV infection were intravenous drug use, age ? 40 years, and being incarcerated ? 10 years. In conclusion, the prevalence of PWID in Danish prisons is low, possibly reflecting a decrease in injecting among the younger generation. This together with OST coverage could explain the low prevalence of HCV infection. However among PWIDs in prison the incidence remains high, suggesting a need for improved HCV prevention in prison.
Project description:IntroductionData on chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection prevalence in European prisons are incomplete and impact the public health opportunity that incarceration provides.AimsWe aimed to estimate the seroprevalence of untreated chronic HCV infection and to identify associated risk factors in an Irish male prison.MethodsWe conducted a cross-sectional study involving a researcher-administered questionnaire, review of medical records and HCV serology.ResultsOf 422 prisoners (78.0% of the study population) who participated in the study, 298 (70.6%) completed the questionnaire and 403 (95.5%) were tested for HCV antibodies. Of those tested, 92 (22.8%) were HCV antibody-positive, and of those, 53 (57.6%) were HCV RNA-positive, 23 (25.0%) had spontaneous clearance, 16 (17.4%) had a sustained viral response, 10 (11.0%) were co-infected with HIV and six (6.0%) with HBV. The untreated chronic HCV seroprevalence estimate was 13.1% and the seroprevalence of HCV among prisoners with a history of injecting drug use (IDU) was 79.7%. Risk factors significantly associated with past HCV infection were IDU (p?<?0.0001), having received a prison tattoo (p?<?0.0001) or a non-sterile community tattoo (p?<?0.0001), sharing needles and other drug-taking paraphernalia (p?<?0.0001). Small numbers of prisoners had a history of sharing razors (n=10; 3.4%) and toothbrushes (n=3; 1.0%) while incarcerated. On multivariable analysis, history of receiving a non-sterile community tattoo was the only significant risk factor associated with HCV acquisition (after IDU was removed from the model) (p?=?0.005, ??=?0.468).ConclusionThe level of untreated chronic HCV infection in Irish prisons is high, with IDU the main associated risk.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) has a significant global health burden with an estimated 2%-3% of the world's population infected, and more than 350,000 dying annually from HCV-related conditions including liver failure and liver cancer. Prisons potentially offer a relatively stable environment in which to commence treatment as they usually provide good access to health care providers, and are organised around routine and structure. Uptake of treatment of HCV, however, remains low in the community and in prisons. In this study, we explored factors affecting treatment uptake inside prisons and hypothesised that prisoners have unique issues influencing HCV treatment uptake as a consequence of their incarceration which are not experienced in other populations.<h4>Method and findings</h4>We undertook a qualitative study exploring prisoners' accounts of why they refused, deferred, delayed or discontinued HCV treatment in prison. Between 2010 and 2013, 116 Australian inmates were interviewed from prisons in New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia. Prisoners experienced many factors similar to those which influence treatment uptake of those living with HCV infection in the community. Incarceration, however, provides different circumstances of how these factors are experienced which need to be better understood if the number of prisoners receiving treatment is to be increased. We developed a descriptive model of patient readiness and motivators for HCV treatment inside prisons and discussed how we can improve treatment uptake among prisoners.<h4>Conclusion</h4>This study identified a broad and unique range of challenges to treatment of HCV in prison. Some of these are likely to be diminished by improving treatment options and improved models of health care delivery. Other barriers relate to inmate understanding of their illness and stigmatisation by other inmates and custodial staff and generally appear less amenable to change although there is potential for peer-based education to address lack of knowledge and stigma.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Positive attitudes towards prisoners are important in securing the effectiveness of various correctional rehabilitation programs and the successful reintegration of prisoners after release. We wanted to investigate the attitudes towards prisoners among prison inmates, prison employees and college students. METHODS: The Attitudes Toward Prisoners scale was completed by 298 inmates in 4 Norwegian prisons, 387 employees working in the same prisons, and 183 college students. In addition, all respondents were asked a number of general questions about prisoners, crime and punishment. RESULTS: The study groups differed significantly in their attitudes towards prisoners, as measured by the Attitudes Toward Prisoners scale, with prison inmates holding the most positive attitudes. Prison officers held more negative attitudes than other prison employees. Prison employees working in female-only facilities held more positive attitudes than those working in male-only facilities. Students differed significantly in their attitudes, with those studying business economics holding more negative attitudes than those studying nursing. A number of strong correlations emerged between negative attitudes towards prisoners and more pessimistic and punitive answers on general questions about prisoners, crime and punishment. CONCLUSION: The attitudes towards prisoners differed markedly among the groups investigated. The findings could have important implications, particularly for the preventive work carried out in our prisons. Whether attitudes toward prisoners can be influenced by educational programs and the dispersion of factual information needs to be investigated.
Project description:High levels of undiagnosed and untreated HCV infection exist in prison populations globally. Prisons are a key location to identify, treat and prevent HCV infection among people who inject drugs (PWID). Understanding prisoners' lived experiences of the HCV continuum of care informs how HCV care can be effectively delivered to this marginalised and high-risk population. This study aimed to explore Irish prisoners' experience of prison and community-based HCV care. We conducted one-to-one interviews with 25 male prisoners with chronic HCV infection. Data collection and analysis was informed by grounded theory. The mean age of participants and first incarceration was 39.5 and 18.3 years respectively. The mean number of incarcerations was eight. The following themes were identified: medical and social factors influencing engagement (fear of treatment and lack of knowledge, HCV relevance and competing priorities), adverse impact of HCV on health and wellness, positive experience of prison life and health care and the transformative clinical and non-clinical changes associated with HCV treatment and cure. Findings suggest that prison release was associated with multiple stressors including homelessness and drug dependence which quickly eroded the health benefits gained during incarceration. The study generated a substantive theory of the need to increase the importance of HCV care among the routine competing priorities associated with the lives of PWID. HCV infected prisoners often lead complex lives and understanding their journeys through the HCV continuum can inform the development of meaningful HCV care pathways. Many challenges exist to optimising HCV treatment uptake in this group and incarceration is an opportunity to successfully engage HCV infected prisoners who underutilise and are underserved by community-based medical services. Support and linkage to care on release is essential to optimising HCV management.
Project description:Despite a recent decline in the U.S. prison population, the older prisoner population is growing rapidly. U.S. prisons are constitutionally required to provide health care to prisoners. As the population ages, healthcare costs rise, states are forced to cut spending, and many correctional agencies struggle to meet this legal standard of care. Failure to meet the healthcare needs of older prisoners, who now account for nearly 10% of the prison population, can cause avoidable suffering in a medically vulnerable population and violation of the constitutional mandate for timely access to an appropriate level of care while incarcerated. Older prisoners who cannot access adequate health care in prison also affect community healthcare systems because more than 95% of prisoners are eventually released, many to urban communities where healthcare disparities are common and acute healthcare resources are overused. A lack of uniform quality and cost data has significantly hampered innovations in policy and practice to improve value in correctional health care (achieving desired health outcomes at sustainable costs). With their unique knowledge of complex chronic disease management, experts in geriatrics are positioned to help address the aging crisis in correctional health care. This article delineates the basic health, cost, and outcomes data that geriatricians and gerontologists need to respond to this crisis, identifies gaps in the available data, and anticipates barriers to data collection that, if addressed, could enable clinicians and policy-makers to evaluate and improve the value of geriatric prison health care.
Project description:Background: While challenging to provide, prisoners are entitled to healthcare equivalent to community patients. This typically involves them travelling to hospitals for secondary care, whilst adhering to the prison's operational security constraints. Better understanding of equivalence issues this raises may help hospitals and prisons consider how to make services more inclusive and accessible to prisoners. We used prisoners’ accounts of secondary care experiences to understand how these relate to the principle of healthcare equivalence. Methods: We undertook a qualitative interview (n?=?17) and focus group (n?=?5) study in the English prison estate. Prisoners who had visited acute hospitals for consultations were eligible for participation. They were recruited by peer researchers. 45 people (21 female, 24 male, average age 41) took part across five prisons. Participants were purposively recruited for diversity in gender, age and ethnicity. Findings: Experiences of hospital healthcare were analysed for themes relating to the principle of ‘equivalence of care’ using Framework Analysis. Participants described five experiences challenging ‘equivalence of care’ for prisoners: (1) Security overriding healthcare need or experience (2) Security creating public humiliation and fear (3) Difficulties relating to prison officer's role in medical consultations (4) Delayed access due to prison regime and transport requirements and (5) Patient autonomy restricted in management of their own healthcare. Interpretation: Achieving equivalence of care for prisoners is undermined by fear, stigma, reduced autonomy and security requirements. It requires co-ordinated action from commissioners, managers, and providers of prison and healthcare systems to address these barriers. There is a need for frontline prison and healthcare staff to address stigma and ensure they understand common issues faced by prisoners seeking to access healthcare, while developing strategies which empower the autonomy of prisoners’ healthcare decisions.
Project description:This article describes the protocol for a Hybrid Type I cost-effectiveness and implementation study of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for men and women prisoners with major depressive disorder (MDD). The goal is to promote uptake of evidence-based treatments in criminal justice settings by conducting a randomized effectiveness study that collects implementation data, including a full cost-effectiveness analysis.More than 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the United States on any given day. MDD is the most common severe mental illness among incarcerated individuals. Despite the prevalence and consequences of MDD among incarcerated populations, this study will be the first fully-powered randomized trial of any treatment for MDD in an incarcerated population.Given the politically charged nature of the justice system, advantageous health outcomes are often not enough to get an intervention implemented in prisons. To increase the policy impact of this trial, we sought advice from prison providers and administrators about outcomes that would be persuasive to policy-makers and defensible to the public. In this trial, effectiveness questions will be answered using a randomized clinical trial design comparing IPT plus prison treatment as usual (TAU) to TAU alone, with outcomes including depressive symptoms (primary), suicidality, and in prison functioning (enrollment and completion of correctional programs; disciplinary and incident reports; aggression/victimization; social support). Implementation outcomes will include cost-effectiveness; feasibility and acceptability of IPT to clients, providers, and administrators; prison provider intervention fidelity, attitudes, and competencies; and barriers and facilitators of implementation assessed through surveys, interviews, and process notes.