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Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Infections among Female Inmates in a Prison in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia by Mai M. El-Daly, Wafa Fageeh, Sherif A. El-Kafrawy, Suha A. Farraj, Norah A. Uthman, Nassrin Badroon, Nada F. Alwathinani, Soonham S. Yaghmoor, Taha A. Kumosani, Esam I. Azhar

Background: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are major health concerns worldwide. Recent data indicate a decline in prevalence in the Saudi population; however, there are no data on the prevalence in prisoners. This study is the first to investigate the prevalence of viral hepatitis in female inmates in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This study aimed to explore the prevalence of HBV and HCV infections and to assess the knowledge and attitudes related to these infections among inmates.
Methods: Inmates were interviewed using a pre-designed questionnaire, and their blood samples were tested for HBV and HCV infections using serology, PCR, and phylogenetic analysis.
Results: The overall prevalence of HBV infection in the study population was 4.4%. The age group > 25 years was predominantly affected; 11.1% of the infected cases were Saudi nationals, and 88.9% were non-Saudis. The prevalence of HCV infection was 2.4%. Among the studied variables, age and previous employment were significantly associated with positive HBV PCR, while conviction, knowledge about protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), knowledge about condom use for protection against STIs, and condom use for protection against STIs were significantly associated with HCV infection.
Conclusions: This study shows higher HBV and HCV prevalence in the female prisoners in Briman prison compared to the general population. Uneducated prisoners, over 25 years old, and convicted of prostitution are more associated with both HBV and HCV infection. Future preventive plans should include screening new prisoners with these risk factors for HBV and HCV at the time of entry.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2023.230825