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A systematic review on models of care effectiveness and barriers to Hepatitis C treatment in prison settings in the EU/EEA

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Hepatitis C prevalence in prison populations is much higher than in the community. Effective hepatitis C treatment within this population does not only have a direct individual health benefit, but may lead to substantial community dividend. We reviewed available evidence on hepatitis C treatment in prison settings, with a focus on the European Union/European Economic Area. A systematic review of the literature (PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane library) was performed and complemented with searches for conference abstracts and grey literature. Thirty-four publications were included reporting on the effectiveness, acceptability and economic aspects of hepatitis C virus treatment models of care to achieve treatment completion and sustained viral response in prison settings. Available evidence shows that hepatitis C treatment in prison settings is feasible and the introduction of direct-acting antivirals will most likely result in increased treatment completion and better clinical outcomes for the prison population, given the caveats of affordability and the need for increased funding for prison health, with the resulting benefits accruing mostly in the community.