Despite global reductions in HIV incidence and mortality, the 15 UNAIDS-designated countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) that gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 constitute the only region where both continue to rise. HIV transmission in EECA is fuelled primarily by injection of opioids, with harsh criminalisation of drug use that has resulted in extraordinarily high levels of incarceration. Consequently, people who inject drugs, including those with HIV, hepatitis C virus, and tuberculosis, are concentrated within prisons. Evidence-based primary and secondary prevention of HIV using opioid agonist therapies such as methadone and buprenorphine is available in prisons in only a handful of EECA countries (methadone or buprenorphine in five countries and needle and syringe programmes in three countries), with none of them meeting recommended coverage levels. Similarly, antiretroviral therapy coverage, especially among people who inject drugs, is markedly under-scaled. Russia completely bans opioid agonist therapies and does not support needle and syringe programmes—with neither available in prisons—despite the country's high incarceration rate and having the largest burden of people with HIV who inject drugs in the region.
The prison setting presents not only challenges, but also opportunities, for the prevention and treatment of HIV, viral hepatitis, and tuberculosis. We did a comprehensive literature search of data published between 2005 and 2015 to understand the global epidemiology of HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and tuberculosis in prisoners. We further modelled the contribution of imprisonment and the potential impact of prevention interventions on HIV transmission in this population. Of the estimated 10·2 million people incarcerated worldwide on any given day in 2014, we estimated that 3·8% have HIV (389 000 living with HIV), 15·1% have HCV (1 546 500), 4·8% have chronic HBV (491 500), and 2·8% have active tuberculosis (286 000). The few studies on incidence suggest that intraprison transmission is generally low, except for large-sc
The prevalence of HIV, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and tuberculosis are higher in prisons than in the general population in most countries worldwide. Prisons have emerged as a risk environment for these infections to be further concentrated, amplified, and then transmitted to the community after prisoners are released. In the absence of alternatives to incarceration, prisons and detention facilities could be leveraged to promote primary and secondary prevention strategies for these infections to improve prisoners health and reduce risk throughout
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