In the 31 EU/EEA countries, more than 590 000 persons are held in a custodial facility on any given day. According to recent reviews of prison studies from EU countries, prison prevalence estimates for HCV ranged from 4.3 % to 86.3 %.
People in prison also tend to have multiple complex health and social care needs resulting from a mix of specific socio-economic determinants and environmental factors. A significant proportion of people in prison have a history of drug use, and a strong association has been found between prison history and HCV prevalence in people who inject drugs.
Prisons are settings of increased risk for HCV transmission, while representing a unique opportunity to address the healthcare needs of those people in prison who belong to hard-to-reach and medically underserved groups in the community, such as people who inject drugs.