Establishment of a successful service for prison inmates with chronic hepatitis C

January 01, 0001

Establishment of a successful service for prison inmates with chronic hepatitis C

The aim of this study was to evaluate the assessment and treatment outcomes of a prison hepatitis service. It consisted of a retrospective, observational cohort study of prison inmates who attended hepatitis clinics from 1996 to 2005 at correctional centres in New South Wales, Australia. Inmates who attended the clinics, including a nested case-control series of patients who received antiviral treatment and age- and sex- matched patients who did not receive treatment.

Of the 1043 inmates who attended the clinics, 851 were men (82%) and 994 (95%) were referred for HCV infection; the mean age for this group was 33 years (range, 18-74 years). In the case-control series (185 treated and 186 untreated patients), selection for treatment was not biased by culturally and linguistically diverse background, current methadone treatment or psychiatric status. In the treated group, 76 of 138 genotyped patients had a genotype that is predictive of favourable treatment response, and a small minority of those with available liver biopsy results had established cirrhosis (7/119 patients). Of treated patients for whom complete follow- up data were available, 55% achieved sustained virological response and 100% adhered to therapy. In addition, treatment episodes were not especially complicated.

The researchers concluded: "Although the prison population has high rates of injecting drug use and poor mental health, imprisonment offers an opportunity for assessment and treatment of chronic HCV infection."

Even if some of the infections were acquired in prison, this appears encouraging.

For the full abstract, click here.

MJA 192(9):496-500, 3 May 2010
© The Medical Journal of Australia 2010
Establishment of a successful assessment and treatment service for Australian prison inmates with chronic hepatitis C. Leng Boonwaat, Paul S Haber, Michael H Levy and Andrew R Lloyd.

Category: B. Blood/Blood Forming Organs/Immune Mechanisms, D. Digestive. Keywords: assessment, treatment, service, prison, inmates, chronic hepatitis C, retrospective observational cohort study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 4 June 2010

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