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The National prison entrants bloodborne virus and risk behaviour survey is conducted every three years and provides ongoing information on the prevalence of bloodborne viruses, sexually transmissible infections, and health risk behaviours in Australian prison entrants.
A survey of new prison entrants over a two week period has been conducted in October 2004, 2007 and 2010. The most recent survey from 2010 provides data from all jurisdictions across Australia and has been expanded to include sexually transmissible infections - syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia. Test results are made available to participants and appropriate treatment pathways identified including education and advice, hepatitis B vaccination, treatment for sexually transmissible infections and referrals for hepatitis C treatment.
Prisoners are at high risk of contracting bloodborne viruses and sexually transmissible infections due to engagement in risk behaviours such as injecting drug use, sharing contaminated injecting equipment, amateur tattooing, and violence. Prison provides an important public health opportunity to monitor the prevalence of bloodborne viruses and sexually transmissible infections in the prison population and if appropriate, initiate prevention and treatment measures.
Abstract adapted from The Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society
Professor Tony Butler
Justice health research program
The Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society
University of New South Wales
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