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Ann Epidemiol. 2018 Apr;28(4):231-235. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2018.02.002. Epub 2018 Feb 10.

Tattooing in prison: a risk factor for HCV infection among inmates in the Quebec's provincial correctional system.

Author information

1
Axe santé des populations et pratiques optimales en santé, Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval, Québec, Canada.
2
Laboratoire de santé publique du Québec, Institut national de Santé publique du Québec, Sainte-Anne de Bellevue, Canada.
3
Axe santé des populations et pratiques optimales en santé, Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec-Université Laval, Québec, Canada; Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Université Laval, Québec, Canada; Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Québec, Canada. Electronic address: michel.alary@crchudequebec.ulaval.ca.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To determine the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and identify related risk factors among inmates in Quebec provincial prisons.

METHODS:

Anonymous cross-sectional data were collected between May 2014 and March 2015 for 1315 men and 250 women who completed a questionnaire and provided oral fluid samples.

RESULTS:

The global prevalence of HCV infection was 11.9% in male participants and 19.2% in female participants (P = .003). Among people who inject drugs (PWID), the prevalence was much higher compared to that in persons who does not: 51.0% versus 2.4% in men (P < .001) and 61.4% versus 2.8% in women (P < .001). In the multivariable analysis, lifetime history of injection drug use was the most important risk factor for HCV infection (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]: 14.2; 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 9.5-21.4), with needle sharing significantly associated with HCV among PWID (AOR: 1.4; 95% CI: 1.1-1.7). Tattooing in prison was frequent, especially among men (37.2%), and independently associated with HCV infection among non-PWID (AOR: 2.8; 95% CI: 1.4-5.6).

CONCLUSION:

Inmates are at high risk for HCV infection especially because of a high proportion of active or past PWID among them. In addition, tattooing while in prison seems to contribute to HCV infection among non-PWID.

KEYWORDS:

Canada; Hepatitis C; PWID; Prevalence; Prison; Tattoo

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