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Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2012 Dec;16(15):2142-6.

Blood born viral infections, sexually transmitted diseases and latent tuberculosis in italian prisons: a preliminary report of a large multicenter study.

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Department of Mental Health and Public Medicine, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy.



Recent screenings of inmates for Hepatitis C virus (HCV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Syphilis and Latent Tuberculosis (LTB) did not provide sufficient information to improve healthcare strategies.


To obtain valuable information on the endemicity of the above mentioned Infections in prisons of Italy.


A screening based on a peer-to-peer communication, followed by a month of blood sampling on a voluntary basis was performed to detect antibody to 4 of the 5 above mentioned infections and detect LTB by PPD (purified protein derivative) Skin Test. The present analysis regards data obtained in 9 of the 20 prisons.


The percentage of patients who accepted the screening varied between jails (37.3-95.2%, median 62.2), but it was higher than 10.0-20.5% obtained in the same 9 prisons using traditional methods before our intervention. The participation to the screening reached 65.3% for HBV, 64.6% for HCV, 67.4%for HIV, 55.7% for TPHA (Treponema Pallidum Hemagglutination Assay) and 42.8% for LTB. HBsAg was detected in 4.4% of 2265 subjects, anti-HCV in 22.8% of 2241, anti-HIV in 3.8% of 2339 and TPHA in 2.1% of 1932; PPD Skin Test was positive in 17.2% of 1486 subjects. The screening identified 183 subjects with an unknown infection, 56 italian and 127 foreigners to be evaluated for clinical decisions: 35 with HBV chronic infection, 34 with HCV chronic infection, 3 anti-HIV positive, 14 with syphilis and 97 with LTB.


The new approach to the screening, based on a peer-to-peer communication followed by blood sampling on a voluntary basis provided valuable information to improve the healthcare system in each single prison.

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