Prevalence of risk factors for transmission of HIV and blood-borne viruses in a prison population

24 May 2019

The objective of this study was to assess the factors which constitute risk of transmitting HIV and blood-borne viruses in a male prison. The setting for this study is Quthing district prison, Lesotho. It is a descriptive study that utilized semi-structured questionnaire administered in a face-to-face interview with participants. Collated data were analysed with the aid of SPSS computer software programme. One hundred and thirty eight prison inmates were to be interviewed but only 123 inmates were successfully interviewed. Forty-two percent of the respondents had tattoo marks but just 2/3 of them had their tattoo marks done in the prison. Sixty-five percent of the inmates interviewed shared sharp instruments such as shaving blades in the prison. Thirteen percent of the inmates used condom regularly before admitted into the prison and 68% had more than one sexual partner within the period of 4 weeks before they were imprisoned. Four percent of the inmates had practiced unprotected anal sex in the prison and 2.5% had used intravenous illicit drug. In conclusion this study showed that unprotected anal sex, tattooing and use of unsterilized sharp instruments are common practices among the prisoners while intravenous drug was uncommon.