Objective. To describe the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and the associated risk factors in a prison population. Material and methods. In this cross-sectional study, from November 2004 to February 2005, all 297 newly sentenced prisoners (mean age 37.5±11.7 years, age range 16-69 years), who had never used illicit drugs received routine blood check-ups and completed a face-to-face interview. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and anti-HCV antibodies were tested using the t -test, chi-square test, and logistic regression. Results. Among the 297 subjects, 13.1% were positive for HBsAg, 8.4% were positive for anti-HCV, and 1.7% were positive for combined HBsAg and anti-HCV. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that tattooing (odds ratio = 2.24, 95% CI = 1.03-4.88) and an elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALAT) level (odds ratio = 4.10, 95% CI = 1.61-10.40) were independently related to HCV infection. Conclusions. Screening of HBV and HCV infection in prison populations remains necessary. Tattooing and elevated ALAT level are identified as the related factors of HCV infection.
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