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Infectious Diseases: Prisoners

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prisoners were tested for (a) HIV, (b) AIDS, (c) hepatitis A and (d) hepatitis B in each of the last three years. (211574)

[holding answer 16 June 2008]: The information requested is not collected centrally.

The Health Protection Agency collects surveillance data on infection with HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis viruses. However, if a prisoner is diagnosed with HIV or hepatitis, the fact that they are a prisoner at that time, or the specific prison in which they currently reside, is not routinely recorded on notifications.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department’s policy is on testing on arrival in prisons for (a) HIV, (b) AIDS, (c) hepatitis A and (d) hepatitis B; and how frequently such testing is conducted during the course of sentences. (211575)

[holding answer16 June 2008]: Prisoners are not screened for infection with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis A or hepatitis B on reception in prisons.

Any prisoner concerned about the possibility of being infected with a blood borne virus or HIV can have a confidential discussion with a trained health practitioner in the prison, and, if they wish to be tested for infection, will have pre-test discussion, the test itself, and post-test discussion about the result. This is similar to the experience of any person requesting such a test in the community.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what expenditure his Department has incurred on the treatment of prisoners for (a) HIV, (b) AIDS, (c) hepatitis A and (d) hepatitis B in each of the last three years. (211576)

[holding answer 16 June 2008]: The information requested is not held centrally.

Health care provision for prisoners in England is commissioned by local national health service primary care trusts (PCTs). It is a matter for PCTs to decide how funding allocated to them should be used to provide services for their local population.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the prison population (a) are HIV positive, (b) have AIDS, (c) have hepatitis A and (d) have hepatitis B. (211577)

[holding answer 16 June 2008]: The information requested is not collected centrally.

However, the prevalence of blood-borne virus (BBV) infection in injecting drug users (IDUs) in the community is used by the Department to estimate infection rates in prisoners.

Therefore, from the data on the prevalence of BBVs in current and former IDUs from the Unlinked Anonymous Prevalence Monitoring Programme (UAPMP) survey in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 20061, the Department estimates that, at any one time in the prison estate, there are currently around 1,000 male and 60 female prisoners living with HIV infection; around 250 male and approximately 15 female prisoners with an AIDS-defining illness; and around 16,400 male and around 940 female prisoners living with Hepatitis B.

For Hepatitis A, in 2006, the total number of laboratory reports of Hepatitis A infection in England and Wales was 396. Therefore, the Department estimates that the number of acute Hepatitis A cases within the prison estate is currently very low.

1 Source:

Health Protection Agency 2007 Injecting Drug Users Summary Statistics, available at:

www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&Page&HPAwebAutoList Name/Page/1202115502904#f2