Hepatitis C in correctional institutions
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The prevalence of chronic infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is estimated to be 17 to 27 times higher among incarcerated individuals than in the general US population. To help stem the epidemic of HCV infection in the United States, correctional institutions and public health systems should be integrated. The incarcerated setting represents the first opportunity for many inmates to access health care. Correctional settings offer an important opportunity to diagnose, prevent, and treat HCV infection. In this article, we review HCV screening, testing, and treatment policies in US correctional institutions and discuss prison responses to the HCV epidemic and the feasibility of treatment within prisons and jails. Finally, we emphasize the importance of links to postrelease medical care for HCV-infected inmates and the necessity of comprehensive strategies to effectively manage HCV infection.
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