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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2009 Aug;43(7):686-91. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e31818dd94c.

Treatment outcomes with pegylated interferon and ribavirin for male prisoners with chronic hepatitis C.

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Department of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Clin Gastroenterol. 2009 Nov-Dec;43(10):1010.



To report our experience with pegylated interferon and ribavirin treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA-positive inmates at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.


An estimated 1 out of 3 HCV-infected individuals will spend time in a jail or prison within a 1-year period, making prisons a unique setting for management of chronic HCV.


Chart review of all inmates identified as having initiated HCV treatment between October 2000 and April 2004. HCV-infected individuals were identified by HCV antibody screening at intake for known risk factors, elevated aminotransferase levels, or per individual request. Treatment followed standard guidelines with weight-based dosing of pegylated interferon-alpha2b and ribavirin. End points were completion of therapy plus 6 months for sustained virologic response (SVR), therapy discontinuation, and loss to follow-up.


The cohort included 71 male patients, was mostly white (80%), and genotype 1 (65%). All 9 African Americans (AA) had genotype 1. Of 59 patients having liver biopsy, 41 had early stage disease. Overall SVR was 28%. Response rate was lower for genotype 1 compared with genotypes 2 and 3 (SVR 18% vs. 60% and 50%). Of inmates with genotype 1, no difference existed in treatment response by race (SVR 22% AA vs. 18% white). Thirty-three patients completed treatment, 26 stopped for side effects, and 5 for initial nonresponse. Eleven were lost to follow-up.


Acceptable HCV treatment outcomes can be achieved in prisons. Our small study indicates no difference in treatment response by AA versus white race for genotype 1.

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