hepatitis c and prisons
People in prison are at least three times more likely to be living with hepatitis C than people who live in the community.
Why do we work in prisons?
Around 1.5% of people in male prisons and 3.7% in female prisons have hepatitis C, compared to around 0.5% of the UK general population.
Most cases of hepatitis C in the UK involve people who have injected drugs. Around 40% of people in prison injected a drug in the month before their arrest, making them more likely to contract the virus.
Hepatitis C is spread via blood-to-blood contact and can occur when sharing needles and other equipment used to take drugs, tattooing equipment, toothbrushes and hair clippers. All of these happen more frequently in prison, making the virus more likely to be passed on within prisons too.
Providing education, support and testing in prisons will help us stop the spread of the virus and help get people into treatment.
Why is hepatitis C testing in prisons important?
Prison provides a unique opportunity to treat hepatitis C in patients who may have little contact with health services in the community.
By diagnosing and treating patients at the earliest possible stage, lives are saved and transmission prevented both within prisons and in the wider community.
Global research and evaluations suggest that in-prison hepatitis treatment programmes are both an efficient and cost-effective way for treating large groups of people.
want to find out more about our work in prisons?
Contact our team to discover more about what we do.
What do we do in prisons?
Our prison team works in all English prisons, as well as many in Scotland and Wales. Our key prison work includes:
- High Intensity Test and Treat (HITT) programme
HITTs offer testing over 3 to 5 days to every person in a prison, and rapid treatment access to anyone diagnosed. We work with prisons to train and support staff to ensure testing at prison reception is well provided and uptake remains high.
- Peer support
We provide peer support to encourage testing and treatment.
- Peer Volunteer programme
We recruit and train volunteers in prisons, who are supported by our staff to raise awareness of the causes of hepatitis C and the importance of testing and treatment.
- Women’s Criminal Justice programme
Our specialist Women’s Criminal Justice team work across England with prisons and probation services to support women to access hepatitis C information, testing, and support with treatment.
people in prison engaged through outreach sessions
people in prison supported through treatment
people in prison tested via the HITT programme