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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2008

Sarah Larney and Kate Dolan

Prison officers face multiple occupational hazards including needlestick injuries, which may result in the transmission of blood‐borne viral infections. This study aimed…

Abstract

Prison officers face multiple occupational hazards including needlestick injuries, which may result in the transmission of blood‐borne viral infections. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of needlestick injuries, the circumstances under which needlestick injuries occur and the responses of injured prison officers. Cross‐sectional data were collected from prison officers in two Australian jurisdictions between January and May 2006, using a self‐report questionnaire. Descriptive analyses were conducted. Of 246 prison officers who completed the survey, two‐thirds had found needles and syringes in the workplace. Seventeen officers (7%) reported having experienced a needlestick injury. Most injuries occurred during searches. Serological testing for blood‐borne viral infections following injury was common, but less than half the injured officers accessed support services. Needlestick injuries appear to be a relatively rare occurrence, but may be further reduced by improving search techniques and equipment and regulating needles and syringes in prisons.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 22 March 2013

Stephanie E. Perrett, Noel Craine and Marion Lyons

This paper aims to describe the strategies being put in place to develop blood borne virus (BBV) services across prisons in Wales, UK, in response to the recommendations…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe the strategies being put in place to develop blood borne virus (BBV) services across prisons in Wales, UK, in response to the recommendations for prisons within the Welsh Government's Blood Borne Viral Hepatitis Action Plan for Wales.

Design/methodology/approach

A task and finish group was established to ensure multidisciplinary engagement between healthcare and custody staff. A service improvement package was developed focusing on awareness raising and/or development of clinical services for prisoners, prison officers and prison healthcare staff.

Findings

Prison healthcare staff have undergone training in BBVs and are being supported to deliver clinical services to prisoners. Training has been delivered in pre/post test discussion and dried blood spot testing; care pathways have been established between prison and community specialists for treatment referrals. An e‐learning module is being rolled out to raise awareness amongst custody staff and encourage occupational hepatitis B vaccination. Literature on “liver health” has been produced to be given to every prisoner across Wales.

Social implications

It is envisaged that BBV services will become a routine part of prison care in Wales. Data on activity are being collected for evaluation and it is hoped that tackling BBVs in prisons will help reduce rates of infection both within prisons and in the wider community.

Originality/value

This paper describes new initiatives that have been established to tackle BBVs across Welsh prisons and will be relevant to any prison healthcare staff looking to develop similar services.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2016

Emanuele Pontali, Nicoletta Bobbio, Marilena Zaccardi and Renato Urciuoli

– The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the prevalence of HBV and/or HCV co-infection among HIV-infected inmates entering the correctional facility.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the prevalence of HBV and/or HCV co-infection among HIV-infected inmates entering the correctional facility.

Design/methodology/approach

Prospective collection of data of HIV-infected inmates entered the institution over a ten-year period.

Findings

During study period 365 consecutive different inmates were evaluated. HCV co-infection was observed in more than 80 per cent of the tested HIV-infected inmates, past HBV infection in 71.6 per cent and active HBV co-infection was detected in 7.1 per cent; triple coinfection (HIV, HCV and HBs-Ag positivity) was present in 6 per cent of the total.

Originality/value

This study confirms high prevalence of co-infections among HIV-infected inmates. Testing for HBV and HCV in all HIV-infected inmates at entry in any correctional system is recommended to identify those in need of specific care and/or preventing interventions.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2014

Stephanie Ellen Perrett, Mark Erricker and Marion Lyons

The purpose of this paper is to provide education on blood-borne viruses (BBVs) to prison staff to help reduce stigma within the prisons, improve the care prisoners…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide education on blood-borne viruses (BBVs) to prison staff to help reduce stigma within the prisons, improve the care prisoners receive and reduce the risk of occupational transmission.

Design/methodology/approach

An e-module was used to improve staff understanding of hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV at a prison in Wales, UK. An assessment was used to gather data on prison staff understanding of BBVs prior to undertaking the e-module.

Findings

In total, 530/697 (76 per cent) prison staff completed the BBV e-module. Average pre- and post-course assessment scores were 8.6/11 and 10.85/11, respectively. Most staff understood the modes of hepatitis transmission, however, gaps in understanding were highlighted. In total, 22 per cent of staff believed HBV and HCV were airborne, 9 per cent believed transmission occurred through sharing cutlery. In total, 31 per cent of staff believed prisoners with hepatitis should declare their status to the prison.

Practical implications

The e-module significantly improved staff understanding of BBVs and should be incorporated into future prison training packages. Future education should include how BBVs are not transmitted with an emphasis on casual contact. Medical confidentiality in prisons should also be addressed. Improving understanding will help reduce the stigma of BBVs within prison and improve the multidisciplinary care the prisoner receives.

Originality/value

To the authors knowledge this is the first published evaluation of a BBV learning package for custodial staff. Evaluation of this educational package demonstrates a unique and valuable insight into the general understanding of BBVs by prison staff in Wales, UK.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2019

Jennifer Gratrix, Petra Smyczek, Lindsay Bertholet, M.C. Lee, Diane Pyne, Dan Woods, Keith Courtney and Rabia Ahmed

Incarceration provides an opportunity for screening and treatment of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) in high-risk groups. The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

Incarceration provides an opportunity for screening and treatment of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) in high-risk groups. The purpose of this paper is to determine positivity rates of STBBI screening within correctional facilities using opt-in strategies and estimate the proportion of admissions tested.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional, retrospective review of testing data from January 2012 to August 2015 from three provincial correctional facilities located in Alberta, Canada was completed. Analysis variables included STBBI, gender, facility, collection year and age. STBBI-stratified analysis was performed to identify correlates for positivity using univariate and logistic regressions.

Findings

Overall prevalence of chlamydia was 11.2 percent and gonorrhea was 3.5 percent; correlates for both were younger age and facility type. The syphilis prevalence rate was 3.2 percent; correlates included being female, older age, adult facilities, with later years being protective. In total, 14 (0.3 percent) newly diagnosed HIV cases were found, prevalence increased with age. HBV prevalence was 1.7 percent with no significant correlations. Nearly one-tenth (n=422) of those screened for HCV antibody were positive; all variables were significantly correlated. Overall estimates of the proportion of admissions tested by STBBI were low and ranged from 4.8 to 16.1 percent.

Originality/value

This study found high rates of STBBI in correctional facilities and showed that only a small proportion of the population was tested using an opt-in strategy. Shifting to an “opt-out” strategy may be warranted.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 27 February 2019

Stephanie E. Perrett and Thomas D. Waite

Prison populations are considered at elevated risk of blood borne virus (BBV) transmission. Between December 2015 and February 2016, four new cases of HIV infection were…

Abstract

Purpose

Prison populations are considered at elevated risk of blood borne virus (BBV) transmission. Between December 2015 and February 2016, four new cases of HIV infection were diagnosed across two male vulnerable prisoner (VP) custodial units in Wales, UK. Cases were identified through routine BBV testing. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

As a result of identifying four new HIV cases, targeted BBV testing across the VP units using dried blood spot testing for HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV) and Hepatitis B was undertaken.

Findings

A total of 617 men were offered testing, 256 (41 per cent) were tested. No further cases of HIV were identified. Eight men were identified as HCV antibody positive. There was no evidence to suggest the four original cases of HIV were linked.

Practical implications

Embedding universal BBV screening within prison health provision will ensure timely identification of cases. Further research is needed to better understand BBV transmission risks within subsets of the prison population such as the VP and sex offending groups.

Originality/value

Little is known about the prevalence of BBVs in vulnerable prison populations. The findings add to the knowledge available for practitioners in the field.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2007

Caren Weilandt, Heion Stöver, Josef Eckert and Gregor Grigoryan

The prevalence of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV in a representative sample of the Armenian male adult prison population has been determined and prisoners and staff were…

Abstract

The prevalence of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV in a representative sample of the Armenian male adult prison population has been determined and prisoners and staff were anonymously asked on risk behaviours (542 prisoners) and on knowledge, attitude and behaviour towards infectious diseases (348 staff members) Prisoners’ knowledge about the sources of transmission of HIV is quite poor, most of the wrong answers relate to activities in the daily prison life. The acceptance of HIV‐infected inmates tends towards extremely negative attitudes. The reported rate of intravenous drug use was 13.3%, and 51% among those are current injectors. Of the ‘ever injectors’, between 15% and 30% reported high‐risk behaviour. Of particular interest was the fact that the self‐reported HIV test results did not correlate at all with the results of the saliva tests. In the study the prevalence of HIV was 2.4%, a rate which is 27 times higher than in the general population. The prevalence rate for hepatitis B among prisoners is 3.7% and for hepatitis C 23.8%. The most important risk factor for contracting an HCV infection was drug use and the second, time spent in prison within the last 10 years, which is an independent risk factor. A substantial number of prison employees perceive their working condition as risky and themselves as at risk for TB, hepatitis B/C or HIV, but large groups had no idea about infection rates. Regarding HIV and hepatitis, knowledge is poor and patchy. While staff show quite good knowledge regarding the main transmission routes via blood and unprotected sex, a low level of knowledge becomes obvious when considering everyday‐life situations, which may cause fears in such a closed setting like prison. Standards including confidentiality and non‐segregation are not accepted in respect of HIV positive prisoners. Here, attitudes range between ‘inclusion’ and ‘exclusion’, which might express uncertainty and insecurity about the risks HIV‐positive persons carry. The provision of sterile needles for tattooing and sterile syringes and needles for injecting drugs users to prevent the spread of infectious diseases are not agreed by the majority of prison staff.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2006

Ralf Ju¨rgens

The rates of HIV infection among prisoners in most countries are significantly higher than in the general population. HCV seroprevalence rates are even higher. While most…

Abstract

The rates of HIV infection among prisoners in most countries are significantly higher than in the general population. HCV seroprevalence rates are even higher. While most prisoners living with HIV or AIDS and/or HCV contract their infection(s) outside the institutions before imprisonment, there is evidence that the risk of being infected in prison, in particular through sharing of contaminated injecting equipment and through unprotected sex, is great. Outbreaks of HIV infection have been documented in a number of countries. Since the early 1990s, various countries have introduced HIV and, to a lesser extent, HCV prevention programmes in prisons. Part 2 of the select annotated bibliography on HIV/AIDS and HCV in prisons contains selected “essential” articles and reports that provide information about (1) prevalence of HIV, HCV, and risk behaviours in prisons; (2) transmission of HIV and HCV in prisons; and (3) measures aimed at preventing HIV and HCV infection in prisons: education, voluntary testing and counselling, provision of condoms, prevention of rape, sexual violence and coercion and bleach and needle and syringe programmes. Each section also contains a brief review of the evidence, based on recent work undertaken by WHO.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2019

Sukran Kose, Pelin Adar, Ayhan Gozaydin, Lutfiye Kuzucu and Gulgun Akkoclu

Prisons, which are hazardous places for various contagious diseases, carry additional risks for HBV and HCV because of the communal lifestyle (common use of tools like…

Abstract

Purpose

Prisons, which are hazardous places for various contagious diseases, carry additional risks for HBV and HCV because of the communal lifestyle (common use of tools like razor blades, tattoo applications, intravenous drug use and homosexual intercourse). The purpose of this paper is to determine the prevalence of HBV and HCV, and also provide information for prisoners in this respect.

Design/methodology/approach

This study included 180 prisoners from the Buca F-Type Closed Prison, and 180 prisoners from the Foça Open Prison in Turkey. After the training seminars, serum levels of HBsAg, anti HBs, anti HBc total and anti HCV in the prisoners were assessed using the MICROELISA method.

Findings

All the prisoners were male. The mean age was 40(21–73) years. According to the results of 360 prisoners from both prisons, 17 (4.7 percent) prisoners were HBsAg positive and were diagnosed as HBV. Isolated anti HBs was positive in 33 (9.1 percent) prisoners who had been previously vaccinated. In 25 (6.9 percent) prisoners isolated Anti HBc total was positive, and in 61 (16.9 percent) prisoners both Anti HBs and Anti HBc total was positive in those who were considered to be recovered from the HBV. Anti HCV was positive in 2 (0.5 percent) prisoners; the process was repeated twice, and found to be repeatedly positive. Coinfection of HBV and HCV was not detected.

Research limitations/implications

In this study, the prevalence of HBV and HCV was determined to be similar to those in the normal population. However, it is not expedient to generalize this result and apply it to all prisons. For the sake of public health, prisons should be scanned for infectious diseases, and vaccinations must be applied as necessary, in order to provide protection.

Originality/value

It is a study to determine the prevalence of HBV and HCV in the prisoner population, which constitute one of the risk groups because of the communal lifestyle (common use of some tools such as the razor blade, tattoo applications, intravenous drug use and homosexual intercourse), and to compare the results with other groups in Turkey and globally.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 21 December 2015

Titilayo Abiona, Joseph Balogun, Adedeji Adefuye and Ivonne Anguh

– The purpose of this paper is to explore HIV risk behaviors of inmates during incarceration and gain an in-depth understanding of the context within which these behaviors occur.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore HIV risk behaviors of inmates during incarceration and gain an in-depth understanding of the context within which these behaviors occur.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 47 recently released ex-offenders participated in focus group discussions that explored the contexts surrounding inmate engagement in HIV risk behaviors in prison. Data were analyzed using NVivo 7 and results were organized into themes.

Findings

Inmates engaged behaviors that could predispose them to HIV infection. These behaviors include unprotected sexual intercourse, transactional sex, injection drug use, tattooing, and body piercing. The results of this study show that the contexts within which risk behaviors occur among inmates are complex, involving inmates, corrections staff, and visitors. The reasons why inmates engage in risk behaviors are also myriad: finance; addiction; boredom; deprivation; prison culture; slack security and monitoring; indifference by correctional officers; and violence.

Practical implications

Prevention of risk behaviors and ultimately HIV transmission in prison requires a multi-dimensional ecological approach that focusses on the inmates, prison staff, prison system, policies, and policy makers.

Originality/value

This paper attempts to explore HIV risk behaviors of prison inmates. It is of value to health professionals, security agents, administrators, and non-governmental organizations that work with the incarcerated population.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

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