Assessment of hepatitis C risk factors and infection prevalence in a jail population

Philip J. Wenger, Fred Rottnek, Todd Parker, Jeffrey S. Crippin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objectives. We sought to validate previous reports of HCV prevalence in jails, identify HCV risk factors prevalence, and identify risk factors associated with HCV infection in this population. Methods. Inmates at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center (BWJC) in St. Louis, Missouri, were offered risk factor screening for HCV and anti-HCV antibody testing from December 2012 through May 2013. Demographic and risk factor information were assessed for significant associations with positive HCV antibody results. Risk factors that were significantly associated in univariate analysis were assessed using binary logistic regression to model the relationship between positive HCV results and the risk factors and demographics. Results. Fifty of 304 inmates were positive for HCV, with a prevalence of 16.4%. The risk factors significantly associated with increased risk for positive HCV antibody were age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.09; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.04, 1.15 for each year), injection drug use (OR = 53.87; 95% CI = 17.78, 163.21), sex with HCV-positive partner (OR = 7.35; 95% CI = 1.41, 38.20), and tattoos by a nonlicensed provider (OR = 2.62; 95% CI = 1.09, 6.33). Prevalence for women was 3 times that of men (38% vs 12%). Conclusions. Prevalence of HCV at BWJC was similar to previous jail studies, which is lower than reported prison rates and higher than the general population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1722-1727
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


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