Prevalence of Hepatitis B and C in Male Prisoners in Iranian Prisons

Document Type : Original Article


1 Deputy Director of Prisons' Organization Health Center, Tehran, Iran

2 Officer of Viral Hepatitis Control Unit Iranian CDC, Tehran, Iran

3 Social Development and Health Promotion Research Center, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran

4 Heath Center West Branch, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

5 Cardiovascular Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

6 Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: Prison, as the most important place for the transmission of infectious diseases, has particular importance, and prison populations are at high risk for infectious diseases like Hepatitis B & C. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of Hepatitis B & C among male inmates in six prisons of different provinces in Iran in 2012.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 2120 male prisoners from six prisons of Tehran (n=408), Kermanshah (n=400), Khorasan Razavi (n=400), Kerman (n=312), Isfahan (n=300) and Fars (n=300) were examined. Blood samples were tested for Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV) by ELISA.

Results: The mean age of the prisoners was 37±13 years with a range of 25–59 years. In total, 73 (3.4%) prisoners were anti-HBc positive and 273 (12.9%) prisoners were anti-HCV positive. The lowest prevalence of Hepatitis B and C was observed in Kerman (respectively, 2.52% and 3.2%) and the highest prevalence was seen in Isfahan (respectively, 6.3% and 33.6%).

Conclusions: We found that the prevalence of Hepatitis B and C among prisoners is considerable. Nevertheless, prisoners routinely are not evaluated and screened for these infections. It is recommended that those who are responsible should apply some policy for reducing and preventing such transmissions in prisons.


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