Background The Strategy on HIV infection and AIDS 2011–2015, and the Strategic Plan for the Response to the HIV Epidemic in the Republic of Serbia, both recognise the need for conducting behavioural surveys every two years among populations most at risk to HIV.
Method The survey was conducted in 2012, as a third repeated cross-sectional (KAP) study on a representative sample of 613 respondents in 16 prisons in Serbia. The research instrument was a structured questionnaire completed by respondents.
Results The survey findings showed that syringe/needle sharing practises are much more present among those prisoners who have had experience of intravenous drug use (38.2%), and who think drugs can be obtained inside a prison (32.8%). Use of non-sterile tattooing tolls was reported by 13.1% prisoners. Sex with non-regular partners and irregular use of condoms is detected more often among male prisoners. Knowledge on HIV/AIDS is satisfactory among 31.6% prisoners, which is a lower percentage compared to 2010 (35.1%). One in seven prisoners (15.2%) in Serbia took HIV test during 12 months before the survey, and knows their result. Among prisoners included in the MoH of Serbia project “HIV Prevention/harm reduction among prisoners”, a higher percentage of those with satisfactory level of knowledge on HIV/AIDS was detected (35.8%), as well as those tested for HIV (32.9%). Knowledge of prisoners related to sexually transmitted diseases is unsatisfactory, as prisoners do not recognise the symptoms, nor do they report to their physicians when they get them. The percentage of prisoners satisfied with healthcare services is significantly higher than in 2010 (38.3% compared to 29.7%).
Conclusion It is necessary to revise and redefine programme activities aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS in prisons, and pay specific attention to HIV prevention programmes among vulnerable groups: youth, women and injecting drug users in prisons.
- Risk factors
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