Australian prisons have been identified as a focus of the ongoing hepatitis C epidemic.
Harm minimisation is the major strategy directed to community-based public health measures to control hepatitis C.
Harm-minimisation strategies to protect inmates and workers are incompletely and inconsistently applied in Australian prisons.
Overseas experience has demonstrated that introducing injecting-equipment exchange programs and professional tattoo parlours in prisons could at least partially reduce the risks of ongoing hepatitis C transmission, and would support prevention and treatment programs.
A two-stage approach is suggested: firstly, implementing programs of proven effectiveness consistently across the eight Australian jurisdictions, and, secondly, expanding current initiatives in the light of international “best practice”.
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