The Prevalence Of Chronic Untreated Hepatitis C Virus Infection And Associated Risk Factors In Irish Prisoners; A Cross Sectional Study

Author: Crowley D, Cullen W, Keevans M, Kelly E, Laird E, Mc Kiernan S, Miggin S, Mc Hugh T, Murphy C, Murtagh R, O’Reilly D, Betts-Symonds G, Tobin C, Van Hout M, Lambert JS

Theme: Epidemiology & Public Health Research Year: 2018

Background: An estimated 26% of prisoners globally have been exposed to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, increasing to 64% in those with a history of injecting drug use (IDU). There is limited data on the prevalence of hepatitis C in prisoners. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of untreated chronic HCV infection and identify associated risk factors in an Irish prison setting. Methods: A single site cross sectional prevalence study. Mountjoy prison – a high security male custodial prison, housing 538 male prisoners located in Dublin, Ireland. A total of 78% of prisoners consented to participate in the study, with 403 completing an enhanced HCV screening programme and 298 completing a risk questionnaire. Results: The prevalence estimate for untreated chronic HCV infection was 13.1%. Of those screened, 22.8 % were HCV antibody positive with 25.0 % of this group showing spontaneous clearance. Of those with chronic infection, 23.2 % had an SVR post treatment and 76.8 % untreated active HCV infection, reflecting an untreated chronic HCV infection population prevalence of 13.1%. Of those exposed to HCV, 11% were co-infected with HIV and 6% with HBV. The prevalence of HCV infection among prisoners with a history of IDU was 79.7 %. Significant risk factors identified were IDU (p

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