OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of hepatitis C using a rapid hepatitis C virus (HCV) test in an inmate population from the countryside of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. METHODS: Through a descriptive study, 195 inmates were evaluated by random sampling. RESULTS: A total of 9.7% of the inmates were positive. In this analysis, the variable injectable drug use was predictive of HCV infection. CONCLUSION: The high prevalence of positive serology for HCV observed among the inmates is of particular concern, as it is much higher than in the general population. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct specific approach campaigns to gather more information on infectious diseases in prison settings, as well as to provide appropriate treatment to prevent viral dissemination.
Hepatitis C; prisons; prevalence; risk factors