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We evaluated prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among prison inmates in France in 2010, in a cross-sectional single-day study based on a two-stage design. Sampling favoured larger establishments and included all types of prisons. Establishments were stratified by geographical region. Estimates were adjusted by post-stratification of the total population of inmates in France. From 60,975 inmates in all 188 prisons on the sampling day, 2,154 were selected from 27 prisons, and 1,876 questionnaires completed. HIV prevalence was estimated at 2.0% (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.9-4.2), 2.6% (95% CI: 0.7-8.8) in women and 2.0% (95% CI: 0.9-4.3) in men; 75% of inmates were receiving treatment for HIV. HCV prevalence was estimated at 4.8% (95% CI: 3.5-6.5) and was higher for women (11.8%; 95% CI: 8.5-16.1) than men (4.5%; 95% CI: 3.3-6.3). Almost half of HCV-infected inmates had chronic hepatitis C and 44% were receiving or had received treatment. HIV and HCV prevalence was six times higher than in the general population, and 2.5% of inmates had viraemic hepatitis C. The moment of incarceration provides an ideal opportunity for testing and treating, limiting spread of HCV and improving patients' prognosis. .


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