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Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2013 Jan-Feb;46(1):24-9.

Epidemiology of the viral hepatitis B and C in female prisoners of Metropolitan Regional Prison Complex in the State of Goiás, Central Brazil.

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Instituto de Patologia Tropical e Saúde Pública, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, GO, Brasil.



Little information regarding hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among Brazilian female prisoners exists. This study investigated the prevalence and risk factors associated with HBV and HCV infections and identified viral genotypes among female prisoners in Goiás, Central Brazil.


Women incarcerated in the largest prison in the State of Goiás were invited to participate in the study. All female prisoners were interviewed and tested for the detection of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), antibodies against HBsAg (anti-HBs), against hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc), and antibody against HCV (anti-HCV) by ELISA. HBsAg and anti-HCV positive samples were tested for HBV DNA and HCV RNA and genotyped, respectively.


Participants (n = 148; 98.6%) completed the study with an overall HBV prevalence of 18.9%. Age >30 years, a low education level, sex with a sexually transmitted diseases carrier, and a male sexual partner serving in the same penitentiary were associated with HBV infections. Only 24% of the women were anti-HBs positive suggesting previous HBV vaccination. Nine female prisoners (6.1%) were anti-HCV positive. Age >40 years, injecting drug use and length of incarceration were statistically associated with anti-HCV antibodies. Five samples were HCV RNA positive and classified as genotypes 1 (subtypes 1a; n = 3 and 1b; n = 1) and 3 (subtype 3a; n = 1). The HBsAg-reactive sample was HBV DNA positive and genotype A.


These findings highlight the necessity of public policies to control hepatitis B and C infections and emphasize the importance of hepatitis B vaccination in prison environments.

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