Great success for the event "La salute non conosce confini" (Health does not know borders)
HWBs' President Monarca actively involved in SIMIT/SIMSPe Information Campaign
On November 14th 2014, the Awareness Campaign "La Salute non conosce confini" (Health does not know borders) was presented at the Italian Senate's headquarters in Rome. The iniciative was promoted by SIMSPe (Italian Society for Prison Health), SIMIT (Italian Society for Infectious and Tropical Diseases) and NPS (HIV positive People Network), as an information and awareness campaign about the spread of infectious and chronic diseases in Italian Detention Institutes.
The campaign is based on the work of a NPS HIV and Hepatitis peer-educator, considered the most efficient means to approach inmates and to motivate them for changing those habits which are exposing them to the risk of infection. The project has been supported since four years by Gilead Science Italy, thus producing the most recent available data about the spread of infectious diseases in prison.
The situation is changing in Italian prisons: a remarkable decrease of inmates is currently taking place, with an estimate of 54.252 presences against 61.449 registered in june 2014. Overcrowding is also reduced from 128,8% to 110,1%, and this problem has been partially solved with the introduction of a greater number of beds, reaching 49.400 places against the 47.700 in june 2014, as well as the release of many pre-trial detainees. The last researches confirm that one inmate in three is a foreigner; in june 2014 foreigners inmates were 34,4% of the total, now decreased to 32%.
More than the half of inmates in Italian penitentiary institutions result to have come into contact with Hepatitis B virus, even though the active carriers of the disease are around 5-6% of prisoners. Cutaneous screening tests have been made on Tubercolosis, which do not only observe the disease in its active state, but also allow to identify the infection carriers who display it only in case of an immune defences reduction. It turned out that positivity is 15-20 times higher than the average population, and among foreign inmates, more than the half carry the infection.
"A high concentration of inmates with infectious diseases, in particular Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and HIV - explained Dr Roberto Monarca, President of the European Federation for Prison Health HWBs (Health Without Barriers) - still exists: from 10 to 15 times higher than the one present among the average population. In the upcoming months we are expecting a gradual loss of the prevalence of communicable infections: comparing the results with those of a study in 2007, these numbers are already decreasing."
HIV infection is still widespread among drug-addicted prisoners, with a prevalence of 20% on the inmates population and of 5-7% on the average residing population. Sexual communicable diseases have been frequently observed in the same environment. In particular Pox, although not affecting more than 2-3% of inmates, shows a very high tax of unawareness ( >85%).
"Among the most troubling illnesses there are mental and infectious diseases, but also cancer and cardiovascular diseases - concluded Roberto Monarca - One inmate in four is affected by Hepatitis C, but this situation might improve in short time by introducing the new prescriptions. We are worried about the increasing death rate due to the significative presence of this illnesses, but on the other hand suicides are decreasing."
CHECK THE TV-REPORTAGE OF THE EVENT (in italian)