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The sero prevalence of chronic untreated Hepatitis C Virus infection and associated risk factors in Irish prisoners: A cross sectional study

Crowley, D, Cullen, W, Keevans, M, Kelly, E, Laird, E, Lambert, J, McHugh, T and van Hout, MC The sero prevalence of chronic untreated Hepatitis C Virus infection and associated risk factors in Irish prisoners: A cross sectional study. Eurosurveillance. ISSN 1560-7917 (Accepted)

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Abstract

Data on chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) infection prevalence in European prisons is incomplete and impacts the public health opportunity that incarceration provides.
Aims: We aimed to estimate the seroprevalence of untreated chronic HCV infection and to identify associated risk factors in an Irish prison
Methods: We conducted a cross sectional study involving a researcher-administered questionnaire, review of medical records and HCV serology.
Results: 422 prisoners (78% of the study population) participated in the study of whom 298 (70.6%) completed the questionnaire and 403 (95.5 %) tested for HCV antibody. Of those tested, 92 (22.8%) were HCV antibody positive of whom, 53 (57.6%) were HCV RNA positive, 23 (25%) had spontaneous clearance, 16 (17.4%) had a sustained viral response, 10 (11%) were co-infected with HIV and 6 (6%) 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 HCV acquisition 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). Sharing of razors (p=0.95) and toothbrushes (p= 0.32) while incarcerated were not significantly associated with HCV acquisition. On multivariate analysis, a 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, β=0.468).
Conclusion: The level of untreated chronic HCV infection in Irish prisons is high, with IDU the main associated risk.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: European Centre for DIsease Prevention and Control
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2019 09:37
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2019 11:42
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10449

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