Figures showing that Hepatitis C infection rates in Australian prisons are out of control have sparked fresh calls for needle exchange programs in gaols.
The research, to be published in The International Journal of Infectious Disease, puts the number of South Australian prisoners infected with the disease at 42%, with a staggering 60% of women prisoners testing positive to the virus.
This is compared to infection rates among the general public of under two percent.
If left untreated Hep C can result in liver disease or complete liver failure and can be fatal in rare cases.
To help combat the virus, many communities offer needle exchange programs to help make sure drug users don't share needles, but these programs are not available in Australian gaols.
Deakin University health researcher Dr Emma Miller is behind the study of Hepatitis C infection rates in gaols, and she says providing inmates with clean fits is a no-brainer.
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