Intended for healthcare professionals


England and Wales: Testing with consent

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 04 February 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:278

Testing for HIV among the prison population in England and Wales is voluntary, and no precise figures exist for prevalence of the virus. According to Her Majesty's Prison Service, however, about 35 prisoners are known to be HIV positive at any one time. An anonymous screening programme is currently under way.

In England and Wales 8% of the prison population is known to carry hepatitis B antibodies, and the figure rises to 18% among known drug users. No figures exist for the prevalence of hepatitis C in prisons.

Both the prison service and the Prison Reform Trust accept that the illicit sharing of needles in prisons presents the biggest risk …

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