Prevention of Transmission of HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and Tuberculosis in Prisons in the European Union: A Multi-Stage Systematic Review

Author: Babak Moazen

Theme: Epidemiology & Public Health Research Year: 2022

Background: Prevalence of the major infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and
tuberculosis is excessively higher among prisoners than in the general population. The present study
aimed to evaluate and report availability of services to the major infectious diseases in prisons in the
European Union (EU).
Methods: In line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses
(PRISMA) criteria, we systematically searched 4 databases of peer-reviewed publications (MEDLINE
(PubMed), ISI Web of Science, EBSCO, and ScienceDirect) and 53 databases containing gray literature
to collect data published from January 2008 to August 2018.
Results: A total of 23,969 documents (17,297 papers and 6,672 gray documents) were identified and
reviewed, of which 101 met inclusion criteria. We found “HIV testing and counselling” available in 27
countries; “HIV treatment, care and support” in 27; “prevention, diagnosis and treatment of TB” in
27; “vaccination, diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis” in 27; “drug dependence treatment” in
21; “post-exposure prophylaxis” in 21; “prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections”
in 15; “information, education and communication” in 11; “condom programs” in 3; “protecting staff
from occupational hazards” in 3; “needle and syringe programs (NSP) in 3; “prevention of
transmission through tattooing, piercing and other forms of skin penetration” in 2; “prevention of
mother-to-child transmission of HIV” in 1; “prevention of sexual violence” in no country; and
“prevention of transmission through medical or dental services” in no country. Data regarding
accessibility and quality of the services are scarce and conflicting.
Conclusions: Lack of prison-based services in the EU is a serious cause for public health concern. The
EU prison health policy makers are recommended to initiate and expand acceptable, accessible, and
high-quality services to control infection transmission in prisons. Lack of infection control services in
prisons is a violation of prisoners’ right to health.
Disclosure of interest: None

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