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Introduction: Human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) is associated with shorter survival of HIV co-infected persons due to masked immunosuppression. Since both retroviruses share similar routes of transmission, there is a need to determine risk factors associated with these pathogens. This study aimed to assess the risk factors associated with HTLV-1/-2 and HIV co-infected among persons attending a secondary hospital in Ningi, Bauchi State, Nigeria.
Methods: Blood samples were collected from 182 HIV infected persons and analysed for anti- HTLV-1/2 IgM and IgG antibodies using commercial Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) kits. Interviewer-based questionnaire were used to collate sociodemographic and risk factor data of the subjects and clinical history were obtained from participants’ medical records.
Results: The seroprevalence of anti-HTLV-1/-2 IgM and IgG were 9.9% and 19.8%, respectively. Out of the 80 ART-naïve, 25 (31.3%) were IgM seropositive. Out of 102 ART-experienced, 11 (10.8%) were anti-HTLV-1/-2 IgM positive. There was a significant association between ART status and seroprevalence of anti-HTLV-1/-2 IgM (p=0.009). However, there was no significance association between seroprevalence of HTLV IgM and gender of the subjects (p=0.06). There was a significant association between the seroprevalence of anti-HTLV-1/-2 IgG and education level of subjects (p=0.039). However, no association between anti-HTLV-1/-2 IgG and other sociodemographic variables studied (p˃ 0.05). History of injury from sharp objects (aOR: 5.3, p<0.0001) and consistent protective sexual practice (aOR: 2.27, p=0.033) were associated with seroprevalence of anti-HTLV-1/-2 IgM.
Discussion: High seroprevalence of HTLV-1/-2 and HIV co-infection was reported. ART status, protective sexual intercourse and injuries with sharp objects were identified risk factors of coinfection. It’s recommended to consider HTLV screening for all HIV infected persons and vice versa.