Age-Specific Global Prevalence of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, and Tuberculosis Among Incarcerated People: A Systematic Review

Stuart A. Kinner, Kathryn Snow, Andrea L. Wirtz, Frederick L. Altice, Chris Beyrer, Kate Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aims to compare the global prevalence of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, and tuberculosis in incarcerated adolescents and young adults (AYAs) and older prisoners. Methods: This study is a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies reporting the age-specific prevalence of each infection in prisoners. We grouped age-specific prevalence estimates into three overlapping age categories: AYA prisoners (<25 years), older prisoners (≥25 years), and mixed category (spanning age 25 years). We used random effects meta-analysis to estimate the relative risk (RR) of each infection in AYAs versus older prisoners. Results: Among 72 studies, there was marked heterogeneity in prevalence estimates among AYA prisoners for all infections: hepatitis B (.4%–25.2%), hepatitis C (.0%–70.6%), HIV (.0%–15.8%), and active tuberculosis (.0%–3.7%). The pooled prevalence of HIV (RR =.39, 95% confidence interval.29–.53, I2 = 79.2%) and hepatitis C (RR =.51, 95% confidence interval.33–.78, I2 = 97.8%) was lower in AYAs than in older prisoners. Conclusions: The prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C is lower in AYA prisoners than in older prisoners. Despite lower prevalence, acquisition begins early among incarcerated populations. There is an urgent need for targeted, age-appropriate prevention, treatment, and harm reduction measures in and beyond custodial settings to reduce the incidence of infection in these extremely vulnerable young people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S18-S26
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Adolescent
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Injecting drug use
  • Meta-analysis
  • Prisoners
  • Tuberculosis
  • Young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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