Blood Borne Viruses in Welsh Prisons

Blood borne viruses (BBVs) include hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B (HBV) and HIV.  Those in prison are considered at increased risk of BBVs therefore testing, early diagnosis and treatment will make a significant impact on improved health.

In November 2016, Welsh Government released a Welsh Health Circular introducing opt-out screening for BBVs for across prisons in Wales.  Since then testing rates have increased year on year.

In 2018, 3888 individuals from prisons in Wales were tested for BBVs representing 44.4% of the prison population.

Our paper in the Journal of Public Health titled “Prevalence of HCV in prisons in Wales, UK and the impact of moving to opt-out HCV testing” can be accessed here.

Specialist treatment services are available within each prison meaning patients can go from test to treatment without needing to leave the prison.

Public Health Wales is committed to the World Health Organisation target of reducing hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030.  Testing and treatment within prison settings in Wales makes a significant contribution towards this.  In September 2019, HMP Swansea was the first UK remand prison to have declared elimination of hepatitis C.

Public Health Wales has produced the following resources for prisons on testing for Hepatitis C which can be downloaded:

Useful Links

Hepatitis B vaccinations in prisons in Wales

Hepatitis B vaccinations are offered to all those in prison as part of an accelerated schedule.  Data on the number of vaccines delivered is collected monthly.

Our 2019 paper in Vaccine journal titled “Hepatitis B coverage in short and long stay prisons in Wales, UK 2013-2017 and the impact of the global vaccine shortage” can be downloaded here.