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Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Jun;4(3):355-64. doi: 10.1586/egh.10.26.

Chronic hepatitis C in the state prison system: insights into the problems and possible solutions.

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  • 1Correctional Medicine Consultation Network, University of California, San Francisco, 1940 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.


The prevalence of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) within the correctional system is estimated to be 10-20-times greater than that which is reported in the general population. High-risk behavioral patterns probably account for the greater estimates in this population. Recent observations of more than 780 patient-inmates infected with HCV within the California Department of Corrections suggest a very high prevalence of advanced fibrosis in this population. Observational studies performed in Texas have shown that the rates of chronic liver disease-related deaths have increased significantly between 1989 and 2003, especially among Hispanic patient-inmates. Viral hepatitis accounts for a significant number of these chronic liver disease-related deaths. Identification of high-risk patient-inmates infected with HCV, as well as appropriation of funds for their treatment, should result in a decreased rate of liver-related complications. This should translate into reduced morbidity and cost to correctional institutions, as well as to improved public health and safety.

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