PloS one 2017 01 0612(1) e0169195 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0169195
The aim of this multicenter, cross sectional study was to assess the prevalence, incidence and associated risk factors among incarcerated populations from twelve Brazilian prisons. The total of 3,368 individuals from twelve prisons was randomly recruited between March 2013 and March 2014. Participants were interviewed, and provided blood samples which were tested for antibodies to Hepatitis C (HCV ab). One year after the first investigation, a cohort study was conducted with 1,656 inmates who participated the cross sectional study. Positive samples were tested for the presence of HCV RNA. Out of 3,368 inmates, 520 (15.4%) were females, and 2,848 (84.6%) were males. The overall prevalence of HCV was 2.4% (95% CI: 1.9 to 2.9), with 0.6% (95% CI: 0.4 to 0.8) in females, and 2.7% (95% CI: 2.1 to 3.3) in males (p<0.01). HCV RNA was detected in 51/80 (63.7%) samples. Among men prisoners, multivariate analysis of associated factors showed independent associations between HCV exposure and increasing age, inject drug use, length of incarceration, smoking hashish, sharing needle and syringe and HIV positivity. During the cohort study, 7/1,656 new cases of HCV infection were detected, and the incidence rate was 0.4/100 person-year. Once high frequency rates of specific HCV risk behaviors and new HCV infections have been identified inside prisons, effective interventions strategies such as screening, clinical evaluation and treatment to reduce the spread of HCV infection are essential.