Hepatitis C infections are at high levels in prison and homeless populations.
Innovative new screening programmes have uncovered high levels of hepatitis C among the prison and homeless populations.
Doctors say the results show the need to shift resources for treating the disease out of hospitals and into the community.
More than 200 inmates in Mountjoy Prison recently presented during a two-day mass screening, two-thirds of whom had not been screened previously.
Altogether, 700 prisoners have been offered screening, and 500 have accepted, under a “buddy system” set up by the Irish Red Cross and the Irish Prison Service.
The programme, which relies on inmate volunteers to inform their peers about the benefits of testing, has led to a significant increase in screening uptake, according to an analysis. “High levels of support among staff and prisoners further underpin the benefits,” it says.
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