HIV Prevalence and Correlations in Prisons in Different Regions of the World: A Review Article

Raheleh Golrokhi1, Behnam Farhoudi2, *, Leila Taj1, Fatemeh Golsoorat Pahlaviani1, Elham Mazaheri-Tehrani1, Andrea Cossarizza3, SeyedAhmad SeyedAlinaghi1, *, Minoo Mohraz1, Fabrício Azevedo Voltarelli4
1 Iranian Research Center for HIV/AIDS, Iranian Institute for Reduction of High Risk Behaviors, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Clinical Research Development Center, Amir-Almomenin Hospital, Tehran Medical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
3 University of Modena and Reggio Emilia School of Medicine, Modena, Italy
4 Federal University of Mato Grosso, Graduation Program in Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Cuiabá, Brazil

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© 2018 Golrokhi et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Iranian Research Center for HIV/AIDS, Imam Khomeini Hospital, Keshavarz Blvd., Tehran, Iran, Tel +98 (21) 66947984; E-mail:,


The prevalence of HIV is substantially higher among prisoners than the general population, while the incidence varies considerably in different regions around the world. If we consider Sub-Saharan Africa as one region with the highest prevalence of HIV, data on African prisoners would be limited. Despite the low prevalence of HIV in the Middle East and North Africa, its incidence is rising in these regions with a few exceptions; there are insufficient data on HIV prevalence in prisons. A similar situation is present in both Pacific and Central Asia as well as in Eastern Europe. A high rate of infection is mainly observed among prisoners in Western and Central parts of Europe, since the data from these are more available than other parts. Nowadays, the sexual transmission mode and tattooing are important ways in HIV risks among prisoners after injecting drug use as the most common route of HIV transmission in all regions. However, it is difficult to compare and analyze the prevalence of HIV among prisoners in different regions regarding the limited data and different methods which they used in collecting data. Eventually, it can certainly be said that prisons are one of the high-risk places for HIV transmission; on the other hand, can be a suitable place for implementing HIV case-finding, linkage to treatment and harm reduction programs.

Keywords: HIV prevalence, HIV risk factors, Prison, Injecting drug use, Sexually transmitted diseases, Correlations.