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BMC Infect Dis. 2013 Aug 14;13:374. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-374.

HCV infected prisoners: should they be still considered a difficult to treat population?

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  • 1Clinical Department, National Institute for Infectious Diseases, L, Spallanzani, Rome, Italy. fabio.iacomi@inmi.it



The prevalence of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the Italian correctional population is estimated to be around 38%. In this setting HCV infection treatment is controversial because of several factors such as active drug substance abuse, psychiatric illness, length of treatment, risk of re-infection, poor adherence and low success rate.


A retrospective data review of 159 inmates, positive for anti-Hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody, evaluated to National Institute for Infectious Diseases "L. Spallanzani" (INMI) from January 2006 to December 2009, was conducted to evaluate rate of completion (feasibility) and outcome efficacy of chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection treatment with Pegylated Interferon and Ribavirin in five correctional facilities in Rome.


Of the 159 inmates evaluated in the study period, 50, all male (median age 39 years) were treated. Twenty patients (40%) did not complete treatment: 15 showed no response and therapy was stopped, 5 patients (10%) interrupted treatment because of adverse reactions. The global feasibility was 60%. The overall sustained virologic response (SVR) was 50% (32% for genotype 1 and 68% for genotype other than 1). The main predictors of SVR at the Multivariable Logistic Regression Odds Ratio (MLR-OR) were a better pretreatment histological diagnosis (absence of bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis [MLR-OR 11.85; 95% CI 1.96-71.62) and a HCV genotype other than 1 (MLR-OR 5.87; 95% CI 1.49-23.17).


Chronic HCV infection treatment in correctional facilities is feasible and effective and should be strongly recommended, in combination with preventive measures, in appropriately screened patients because it represents an important opportunity to treat a population with a high prevalence of chronic HCV infection among whom treatment options post incarceration may be limited.

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