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BMC Public Health. 2013 Oct 20;13:981. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-981.

Prevalence and epidemiological correlates and treatment outcome of HCV infection in an Italian prison setting.

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Clinica di Malattie Infettive, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Viale Camillo Golgi 19, 27100 Pavia, Italy.



The aim of the present study is to test in the feasibility of a screening programme for HCV infection in an Italian prison and to evaluate the treatment outcomes.


Single-centre cross-sectional study carried out in Milan-Opera. The HCV infection prevalence was calculated on the imprisoned population on the January 31 2006, the data on treatment over the following 2 years. Treatment option offered to HCV chronically infected patients was then analysed, reasons for not being treated was evaluated.


Of the 965 inmates, 695 were enrolled in the study, 682 (98%) were males, the median age was 43 years. There were 131 (18.8%) foreigners and 564 (81.2%) Italians. HCV seroprevalence was 22.4%(95% CI:19.4%-25.7%), 60 subjects (38.4%) being HIV co-infected too. Prevalence of HCV infection was significantly higher in HIVAb positive (89.6%; 95% CI:79.7%-95.7%) than in HIVAb negative (15.15%; 95% CI 12.6%-18.3%) (p<0.001). Among Italian inmates HCVAb positivity was significantly higher than among foreigners (p=0.0154). Among HCVAb positive patients, 135 subjects were HCV-RNA positive. Forty-seven (36%) had major clinical contraindication to treatment, 18 (13%) refused the treatment, 7 (5%) moved to other Institute and 27 (20%) were not evaluated by infectious disease specialists. Fifteen patients (43%) who received treatment were considered responders, 9 (26%) were non responders/relapsers, 6 (17%) interrupted treatment due to side effects and 5 (14%) were released during treatment and lost in follow-up.


This study indicates that the proportion of patients in a prison setting receiving diagnosis and treatment for HCV infection remained low.

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