The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) have published new guidance for the prevention and control of communicable diseases in prison settings in the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA).
The report acknowledges that increased disease prevalence in this population is a significant public health concern, but says incarceration may represent “a unique opportunity to make adequate healthcare services available to people and target groups that are usually hard to reach when in the community".
The guidance focuses on high-burden communicable diseases in prison settings and provides evidence-based scientific advice on active case finding options. The report recommends offering hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing to all people in prison. In addition, it says it is advisable to offer universal provider-initiated testing for tuberculosis (TB) at prison intake. Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) provider-initiated testing could also be considered, at least for individuals who are at high risk of disease progression. For sexually transmitted diseases (STIs), risk-based, age-based or universal testing, may be considered.