Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 652

Full Length Research Paper

No HIV infections despite high numbers of hepatitis B and C virus infections in Dutch prisoners

Imke Schreuder1*, Marianne A. B. van der Sande2,3, Albert D. M. E. Osterhaus1, Charles A. B. Boucher1, John Pinxt4, Christian J. P. A. Hoebe5,7, Nicole H. T. M . Dukers-Muijrers5,7, Femke D. H.  Koedijk2, Anneke Westerhof2, Esther A. Croes6 and Maaike G. van Veen2
1Department of Virology, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. 2Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, Netherlands. 3Julius Centre, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands. 4Medical Department, the Geerhorst penitentiary, Sittard, Netherlands. 5Department of Infectious Diseases, South Limburg Public Health Service Geleen, Netherlands. 6Trimbos Institute, Utrecht, Netherlands. 7Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI), Maastricht University Medical Centre, Netherlands.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 12 May 2011
  •  Published: 30 June 2011


International studies show high prevalences of blood-borne infections in prisoners but little is known about infectious diseases in Dutch prisoners. This study assessed the prevalence of HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infections in Dutch prisoners and contributing risk factors. A cross-sectional serosurvey was conducted among male prisoners, using blood samples and questionnaires. Overall, 229 prisoners participated (77%). No prisoner was HIV seropositive. Nineteen prisoners (8.3%) were anti-hepatitis B core (anti-HBc) positive, three of whom were hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive. Fifty (22%) were anti-HBs positive, either after vaccination or previous infection. The prevalence of antibodies to Hepatitis C virus (HCV) was 7.4%, of whom 4.8% was HCV-RNA positive. Over half of the prisoners reported drug use, 36% reported drug use in prison. The predictor for HBV was IDU (p<0.001); the predictors for HCV were higher age and injecting drug users (IDU)(p<0.05). Prevalences among injecting drug users (IDUs) were significantly higher than among non-IDUs (p<0.001). While we did not identify any HIV infected prisoners, the study showed that seroprevalences of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HCV infections among Dutch prisoners were up to twenty times higher than estimated for the Dutch general population. IDU was the most commonly reported route of transmission. Since only a minority of prisoners was immune to HBV, vaccination coverage in prisoners should be enhanced.


Key words: Epidemiology, blood-borne infection, hepatitis, HIV infection, injecting drug use, prison, seroprevalence.