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Hepatitis C treatment among incarcerated individuals in Canada and strategies to prevent reinfection in the postrelease period
  1. Tara Beaulieu1,2,
  2. Seonaid Nolan1,3,
  3. Lianping Ti1,3
  1. 1 British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2 Faculty of Medicine, Graduate Programs in Rehabilitation Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  3. 3 Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lianping Ti, British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2A9, Canada; lianping.ti{at}bccsu.ubc.ca

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It is well-recognised that individuals incarcerated are disproportionally affected by hepatitis C viral (HCV) infections across Canada.1 Accordingly, in 2017, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) announced increased funding for treatment initiation among the estimated 2700 HCV infected individuals in federal prison settings.2 In April and May 2017, approximately 121 federal inmates were initiated on HCV treatment. This compares to an estimated 606 federal incarcerated individuals who were initiated on HCV treatment between 2015 and 2016.2 Although CSC’s action is likely to have saved countless lives, the same budgetary commitment has not yet been made for the estimated 4380 infected persons in provincial and territorial prisons.1

Although the federal government’s investment is a step in the right direction, it is crucial to remember that the postrelease period for incarcerated individuals is one of the significant vulnerability. Re-entry can be stressful as they reintegrate into the community, try to find housing and employment, and access medical services.3 Subsequently, critical factors, such as an increased likelihood of high-risk practices in the initial days after release (heightening the risk for HCV reinfection) …

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Footnotes

  • Contributors TB drafted the manuscript, and incorporated suggestions from SN and LT. All authors made significant contributions to this manuscript.

  • Funding LT and SN are supported by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar Awards. TB is supported by a University of British Columbia Doctoral Fellowship.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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