Given the importance of the control of sexually transmitted infections in the general population and specifically in the prison system, we rolled out this cross-sectional study in 2007. Standard questionnaires and blood samples were accessed among 680 prisoners. The protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee. We determined the following seroprevalences: HIV, 1.8% (95%CI = 0.1-3.3); HBV, 21.0% (95%CI = 17.8-25.1); HBV, 5.3% (95%CI = 3.5-7.6) and syphilis 5.3% (95%CI = 3.5-7.6). Logistic regression identified significant associations with (p < 0.05): HIV: injectable drug use (OR = 15.4), age over 30 years (OR = 13.3), cocaine use (OR = 5.4) and crack-cocaine use (OR = 5.2); HBV: injectable drug use (OR = 3.4), history of previous sexually transmitted infection (OR = 2.3), age over 30 years (OR = 1.9) and more than 5 years in prison (OR = 2.2); HCV: injectable drug use (OR = 9.65), marijuana use in prison (OR = 2.9) and age over 30 years (OR = 8.4) and for syphilis: homosexual relationship (OR = 7.8) and previous syphilis reported (OR = 7.7). These prevalences remain high when compared to the general population, however, HIV infection had decreased compared with previous studies in prisoners while the other studied infections remained unchanged. Preventive actions to reduce sexual and parenteral risk have been advocated. However, measures capable of controlling these infections still have not made an impact.
Keywords: AIDS; Epidemiology; HIV; South America; Treponema pallidum; hepatitis B; hepatitis C; incarceration; prevalence; prisoners; risk factors; sexually transmitted infection; syphilis.
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