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To describe the characteristics of cases of syphilis amongst prison inmates. Descriptive study. Confirmed cases of primary, secondary and early latent syphilis were identified in prisons in Spain during 2007-2008. Socio-demographic and clinical information, as well as variables related to transmission, was collected by the attending physicians in a standard form. Frequency distributions of each variable were performed. Annual incidence rates were calculated. To evaluate the association between qualitative variables, the χ2and Fisher's exact tests were used; the Mann-Whitney test was utilized to compare quantitative variables. During the study period, 94 syphilis cases were identified (35.1% primary, 20.2% secondary and 44.7% early latent). The incidence rates were 0.9 cases/1000 prisoners in 2007 and 0.7 cases/1000 prisoners in 2008. Most cases were male (90.4%), between 31-40 years old (30.9%) and foreigners (52.1%). The majority of patients were diagnosed through screening (80.9%). Heterosexual contact was the most frequent transmission route (83.0%). Overall HIV prevalence was 5.3%, and 16.0% of the patients had a history of previous sexually transmitted infections (STI). Almost 40% of the cases reported being a client of a sex worker. Incidence of syphilis in prison is high. Many syphilis patients were detected through screening, highlighting the role of the Spanish prison health service in STI control.


Journal article


Revista española de sanidad penitenciaria

Publication Date





52 - 57