Considering that more than 10 percent of Canadians with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are incarcerated in any given year, the country’s jails and prisons are excellent places to combat the virus. Researchers published a paper in the Canadian Journal of Public Health advocating for HCV-fighting efforts in correctional facilities.

“Incarcerated individuals are more likely to be infected with hepatitis C and more likely to continue the transmission cycle because of their involvement in risky behaviors such as sharing needles,” study author Fiona Kouyoumdjian, MD, PhD, MPH, a post-doctoral fellow with the Centre for Research on Inner City Health of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said in a press release. “Time in custody is a unique opportunity for health care workers to offer prevention activities to people who may otherwise be difficult to reach.”

The paper’s authors advocated various ways to combat hep C in correctional facilities, including needle exchange programs, improved opioid substitution programs, hep C screening, expanded access to treatment for the virus, and links to community-based programs for those leaving correctional facilities.

To read a press release about the study, click here.