Canada: HIV Rates 10 Times Higher in Prisons
April 25, 2003
A Canadian government report said HIV and hepatitis C infection rates in federal prisons are rising and are at least 10 times higher than in the general population. The report suggests that 1.8 percent of federal inmates have HIV, and about one-quarter have hepatitis C. The rates are significantly higher among female inmates, of whom close to 5 percent have HIV and more than 40 percent have hepatitis C. Among male inmates, the highest infection rates are in Quebec. Since only about one-quarter of all inmates undergo voluntary testing, the document said, those rates are likely underreported. Most of the infections are likely caused by sexual contact and sharing needles to inject drugs, the report says. A committee set up by the Correctional Services of Canada recommended starting a needle exchange in prison four years ago, but this report says there are no plans to do that. The report says better tracking and early diagnosis can improve the inmates' health and reduce health care costs in the long term.Adapted from:
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.