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J Urban Health. 2012 Feb;89(1):108-16. doi: 10.1007/s11524-011-9626-x.

Prevalence and correlates of HCV, HVB, and HIV infection among prison inmates and staff, Hungary.

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National Center for Epidemiology, Budapest, Hungary.


The aim of this national, multicenter, cross-sectional study was to assess the prevalence of hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) among prisoners, and to identify related risk behaviors including injection drug use. Overall, 4,894 inmates from 20 prisons were enrolled. To have a comparison group, prison staff were also asked to take part. Altogether, 1,553 of the 4,894 inmates from seven prisons completed a questionnaire on risk behaviors. According to the survey, 1.5%, 4.9%, and 0.04% of the prisoners were tested positive for HBsAg, anti-HCV and anti-HIV, respectively. These prevalence data are among the lowest reported from prisons worldwide, although comparable to the Central European data. The prevalence of HBV, HCV, and HIV in the Hungarian prison staff was low (0.38%, 0.47%, and 0%, respectively). The rate of HCV infection was significantly higher among inmates who have ever injected drugs (22.5%) than among inmates who reported they had never injected drugs (1.1%). This first prevalence study of illegal drug injection-related viral infections among Hungarian prisoners points out that ever injecting drugs is the main reason for HCV infection among inmates. The opportunity to reach drug users infected with HCV for treatment underlines the importance of screening programs for blood-borne viruses in prisons.

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