- This study aimed to assess HIV/AIDS point-prevalence among inmates and evaluate costs related to universal screening as currently practiced and appraise its necessity. All inmates newly incarcerated in Israel (2003-2010) underwent HIV tests and their medical files were cross-matched the with the national HIV/AIDS registry to who had been newly infected and detected on prison entry. They were classified by key risk-groups. Of 108 866 new inmates during the period, 215 (0.2 per cent) were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, 44 of those (0.04 per cent) were not aware of their infection. A large majority (94.2 per cent) of the infected inmates were members of a key-risk group: drug-users, homosexuals, or originating from a high-HIV prevalence country. The direct cost of detecting a single HIV-infected inmate who was not previously recorded was [euro ]12 386. The HIV/AIDS-screening process can be improved by interviewing the new inmates and performing targeted HIV-testing for those who are members of a known risk-group. These data from Israel are pertinent to developed countries with low HIV prevalence, because they present a picture of all newly infected inmates over an 8-year period within the paradigm of a fully functional HIV surveillance system.Journal of Public Health Policy advance online publication, 23 July 2015; doi:10.1057/jphp.2015.21.