Hepatitis B and C infection at a large public sector hospital clinic: Is it a burden?

  • P Kurira
  • CE Ndhlovu
  • ZAR Gomo


Background:  Co-infections have become significant causes of morbidity and mortality in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infected people. Due to shared routes of transmission, co-infection of HIV with Hepatitis B (HBV) and/or Hepatitis C (HCV) should be expected. In Zimbabwe, screening for both viruses in HIV infected people prior to treatment is not routinely practised despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines (2013) prioritising treatment where these co-infections exist.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of HBV and HCV infection in HIV infected adults at a public sector HIV clinic in Zimbabwe and to determine risk factors associated with these infections.  

Design and Setting:  An analytical cross-sectional survey carried out among systematically randomly sampled HIV infected patients coming for treatment between March and July 2012 at Parirenyatwa Hospital Opportunistic Infection Clinic.

Materials and Methods:  Blood samples were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis C virus antibodies (anti-HCV).  Demographic data and exposure to risk factors were collected. 

Results: 228 antiretroviral therapy (ART) naive adults were enrolled. 7.9% (18/228) were HBsAg positive and 0.9% (2/228) were anti-HCV positive. None of the participants were infected with both viruses.

Conclusions: The prevalence of HBV has not changed during this HIV era and there is no significant HCV infection in this public sector clinic which serves quite a large sector of the population that lives in Harare, Zimbabwe. Based on these results, there is no need for HCV screening but HBV screening prior to ART initiation may be required.


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eISSN: 0008-9176