Date: 08 Nov 2008

Prevalence and risk factors of the whole spectrum of sexually transmitted diseases in male incoming prisoners in France

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Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are a public health issue in prison. As inmates are eventually released, it is also a community concern. There are very few data on the entire spectrum of STDs, particularly condyloma among prisoners. To determine the prevalence of all STDs: infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoea, syphilis, and condyloma among entering inmates. A cross-sectional study was conducted in France from November 2000 to June 2003. Male adults entering a prison remand center in Caen had a medical consultation and physical examination including external genital organs and perianal area for condyloma and herpes infection, a urethral swab for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoea detection, and a blood sample for HBV, HCV, HIV, and syphilis serology. Five hundred and ninety-seven inmates agreed to participate in the study. Sixteen percent had at least one STD: 4.0% had condyloma, 4.0% chlamydia infection, and 4.9% were positive for HCV antibodies. Two had early syphilis and 1 had acute HBV, but no HIV infection, neither genital herpes nor gonorrhea. The analysis of the STD risk behaviors did not show any difference between the infected and uninfected participants, except that HCV-positive participants were more likely to be intravenous drug users. Results suggest that a systematic screening of all STDs should be at least proposed to every entering inmate since no demographic or sexual characteristics are consistently associated with STDs.

L. Verneuil and J.-S. Vidal are equal contributors to this work.