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Australas Psychiatry. 2010 Aug;18(4):330-4. doi: 10.3109/10398561003763273.

Prevalence of hepatitis C in two inpatient psychiatry populations.

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  • 1Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Health Service, Hornsby, NSW, Australia.



Psychiatric populations may be particularly at risk of hepatitis C (HCV), less likely to receive appropriate interventions and at greater risk of liver damage due to comorbid substance abuse. This study sought to determine the prevalence of HCV in two inpatient psychiatric populations of seriously mentally ill patients and the relationship to risk factor screening.


Two inpatient units were chosen in similar socio-economic areas. Persons admitted to these wards over the course of the study were invited to participate and provided with pre-test counselling. Where informed consent was obtained, individuals were included in the study. It was planned to screen all consenting patients. However, funding was reduced for one site meaning that only patients with identified risk factors could be screened there.


Around 18% of psychiatric inpatients admitted to risk factors for HCV. The prevalence of HCV with screening of all consenting patients in unit A was 3.2%. With selective screening in unit B, 41.7% of those with identified risk factors tested positive. These results compare to the Australian community rate of approximately 1.1%.


Results are consistent with elevated rates of HCV in mentally ill populations elsewhere in the world, and provide support for selective screening.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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