Principles of condom provision programs in prisons from the standpoint of European prison health experts: a qualitative study

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Background: Condom provision is one of the most effective harm reduction interventions to control sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis in prisons. Yet, very few countries around the world provide prisoners with condoms. The present study aimed to elucidate principles of effective prison-based condom programs from the perspective of European public health and prison health experts. Methods: As a part of the “Joint Action on HIV and Co-infection Prevention and Harm Reduction (HA-REACT)” twenty-one experts from the field of prison health from eight European countries were invited to discuss the principles of condom provision programs in prisons within two focus groups. The audio records were transcribed verbatim, coded, categorized, and analyzed using thematic analysis method. Results: Six components emerged from the analysis as essential for successful condom programs in prisons: (1) highlighting the necessity of condom provision in prisons, (2) engagement of internal and external beneficiaries in all stages of designing and implementing the program, (3) conducting a pilot phase, (4) condom program in a comprehensive package of harm reduction interventions, (5) vending machine as the best method of condom distribution in prisons and (6) assuring the sustainability and quality of the intervention. Conclusion: Results of the present study can help prison health policy makers to design and conduct acceptable, accessible and high-quality prison-based condom provision programs, and consequently to mitigate the burden of STIs in prisons. Having access to high-quality healthcare services including condom provision programs is not only the right of prisoners to health, but also is a move towards achieving the sustainable development goal 3 of “leaving no one behind.”




Moazen, B., Mauti, J., Meireles, P., Černíková, T., Neuhann, F., Jahn, A., & Stöver, H. (2021). Principles of condom provision programs in prisons from the standpoint of European prison health experts: a qualitative study. Harm Reduction Journal, 18(1).

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