International Union Against TB and Lung Disease releases statement on prevention of TB among inmates

The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases recently released an official statement urging the prioritization of tuberculosis prevention and control in penitentiary settings.

More than 9.8 million people worldwide are detained in jails, detention centers and prisons and are between five and 70 times more likely to contract TB than the general population. Concomitant conditions such as HIV infection can also put inmates at risk of rapidly progressing from latent TB infection to TB disease.

The authors of the statement presented 12 recommendations to health authorities, national and international technical agencies, civil society organizations and donor agencies to implement to improve TB prevention and control in penitentiaries.

The recommended control measures include adapting and implementing the Stop TB strategy in penitentiaries, conducting periodic active TB screening of new and current inmates, ensuring airborne infection control, providing access to early diagnosis and effective treatment for all TB types, ensuring early initiation of antiretroviral therapy for people with HIV and TB, and providing preventive therapy for individuals infected with TB in penitentiary services.

The authors also suggested that penitentiaries ensure a continuum of care for released prisoners with TB, monitor TB and TB-HIV situations, encourage collaboration between penitentiary and civilian health services, provide psychological counseling and support for TB and HIV prisoners, strengthen TB control by raising awareness among prisoners and staff, and promote operational research to improve TB prevention, control and care in penitentiaries.

The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease is an international voluntary scientific organization that combines innovation, expertise, solutions and support to address health challenges in low- and middle-income populations.