Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 108–116 | Cite as

Prevalence and Correlates of HCV, HVB, and HIV Infection among Prison Inmates and Staff, Hungary

  • Bálint Tresó
  • Erzsébet Barcsay
  • Anna Tarján
  • Gergely Horváth
  • Ágnes Dencs
  • Andrea Hettmann
  • Mária Magdolna Csépai
  • Zoltán Győri
  • Erzsébet Rusvai
  • Mária TakácsEmail author


The aim of this national, multicenter, cross-sectional study was to assess the prevalence of hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) among prisoners, and to identify related risk behaviors including injection drug use. Overall, 4,894 inmates from 20 prisons were enrolled. To have a comparison group, prison staff were also asked to take part. Altogether, 1,553 of the 4,894 inmates from seven prisons completed a questionnaire on risk behaviors. According to the survey, 1.5%, 4.9%, and 0.04% of the prisoners were tested positive for HBsAg, anti-HCV and anti-HIV, respectively. These prevalence data are among the lowest reported from prisons worldwide, although comparable to the Central European data. The prevalence of HBV, HCV, and HIV in the Hungarian prison staff was low (0.38%, 0.47%, and 0%, respectively). The rate of HCV infection was significantly higher among inmates who have ever injected drugs (22.5%) than among inmates who reported they had never injected drugs (1.1%). This first prevalence study of illegal drug injection-related viral infections among Hungarian prisoners points out that ever injecting drugs is the main reason for HCV infection among inmates. The opportunity to reach drug users infected with HCV for treatment underlines the importance of screening programs for blood-borne viruses in prisons.


Screening HCV HBV HIV Prisoners Staff Risk factors 



This work was supported by Schering-Plough Hungary Ltd. (anti-HCV), the Hungarian Prison Service HQ, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer, and the National Center for Epidemiology (HBsAg and anti-HIV). The authors thank the staff of the Department of Hepatitis Viruses and Molecular Virology for the excellent technical assistance. We are grateful to Prof. Eva Gonczol and Carolyn Otterness for critical reading of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bálint Tresó
    • 1
  • Erzsébet Barcsay
    • 1
  • Anna Tarján
    • 1
  • Gergely Horváth
    • 1
  • Ágnes Dencs
    • 1
  • Andrea Hettmann
    • 1
  • Mária Magdolna Csépai
    • 1
  • Zoltán Győri
    • 1
  • Erzsébet Rusvai
    • 1
  • Mária Takács
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.National Center for EpidemiologyBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Division of VirologyNational Center for EpidemiologyBudapestHungary

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