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March 28, 2012

Screening for HCV Infection in Jails

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Spaulding); and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (Dr Thomas).

JAMA. 2012;307(12):1259-1260. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.374

Jails are an ideal setting for routine hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening. At the turn of this century, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 16% to 41% of US inmates had serological evidence of prior HCV exposure and 12% to 35% had chronic infection.1 This high prevalence of hepatitis C, coupled with the fact that more than 7 million individuals passed through jails and prisons each year in the late 1990s, suggested that persons released from the criminal justice system may account for up to 29% to 43% of the 2.7 million to 3.9 million persons infected with hepatitis C in the United States.1,2

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