Hepatitis C Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Co-Infection among Pregnant Women in South-South, Nigeria
Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections are major health problems worldwide. HCV/HIV co-infection has been shown to increase the frequency of liver disease and also maternal-fetal transmission of HCV. Little data exist on the prevalence of co-infection of these viruses in our Obstetric population. This study was therefore designed to determine the seroprevalence of co-infection of HCV/HIV among pregnant women in South-South, Nigeria. Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study done among antenatal attendees at the Sacred Heart Hospital, Obudu, Cross-Rivers State, Nigeria, from 1st January to 30th June 2010. Results: Out of the 836 pregnant women studied, 24(2.87%) tested positive for HCV antibodies. Thirty eight (4.5%) were positive for HIV and 2(8.3%) had HCV/HIV co-infection. The mean age and parity of seropositive women were 25.5 ± 4.5 years and 2.2 ± 1.1 respectively. Conclusion: The seroprevalence of HCV/HIV co-infection was high contrary to the absence of dual infection of the viruses in a previous study in the same region of the country. Concerted efforts need to be made towards reducing the seroprevalence through awareness campaigns, testing for the virus as well as development of vaccine among other preventive measures.
Key words: Hepatitis C virus, HIV, Pregnant women, co-infection, Nigeria.