Prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C virus infections among inmates of Quebec provincial prisons

Poulin, Céline; Alary, Michel; Lambert, Gilles; Godin, Gaston; Landry, Suzanne; Gagnon, Hélène; Demers, Éric; Morarescu, Elena; Rochefort, Jean; Claessens, Christiane
July 2007
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal Supplement;7/31/2007, Vol. 177 Issue 3, p252
Academic Journal
Background: To determine the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections and examine risk factors for these infections among inmates in Quebec provincial prisons. Methods: Anonymous cross-sectional data were collected from January to June 2003 for men (n= 1357) and women (n= 250) who agreed to participate in the study and who completed a self-administrated questionnaire and provided saliva samples. Results: The prevalence of HIV infection was 2.3% among the male participants and 8.8% among the female participants. The corresponding prevalence of HCV infection was 16.6% and 29.2%, respectively. The most important risk factor was injection drug use. The prevalence of HIV infection was 7.2% among the male injection drug users and 0.5% among the male non-users. Among the women, the rate was 20.6% among the injection drug users, whereas none of the non-users was HIV positive. The prevalence of HCV infection was 53.3% among the male injection drug users and 2.6% among the male non-users; the corresponding values among the women were 63.6% and 3.5%. Interpretation: HIV and HCV infections constitute an important public health problem in prison, where the prevalence is affected mainly by a high percentage of injection drug use among inmates.


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