Female prisoners are at risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs). There has been no previous study regarding the epidemiological status of STIs among female prisoners in Isfahan, central Iran.
The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and risk factors of the aforementioned infections among women incarcerated in the central prison, Isfahan, to determine appropriate prevention measures.
Patients and Methods
In a cross-sectional study, all of the 163 women incarcerated in the central prison, Isfahan in 2009, were voluntarily enrolled by the census method. After completing a checklist consisting of demographic, social, and risk factors, a 5ml blood sample was taken from each individual. The sera were analyzed for markers of the hepatitis B virus (HBV; HBsAg, HBsAb, HBcAb), hepatitis C virus (HCV; HCV antibodies), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV; HIV antibodies), and syphilis (RPR). Confirmatory tests were performed on HCV antibody-positive cases.
The mean age of the participants in the study was 34.54 ± 11.2 years old, 94.3% of these women were Iranian, and many of them had only a primary level of education. The prevalence of HBsAg, HBcAb, HBsAb, and HCV antibodies were; 1.2%, 7.4%, 12.9% and 7.4% respectively. No positive RPR or HIV antibodies were detected.
A significant relationship was seen between the HCV antibody, drug injection and illegal sex in the women, and also between HBc-Ab and drug injection. Regular screening, educational programs, and facilitation of access to suitable treatment care should be widely implemented in the prison population. Testing for immunity against HBV should be considered on admission, and afterwards vaccination of all prisoners and an appropriate preventative approach should be applied.