East African Medical Journal

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Prevalence and risk factors of previous or active Hepatitis B infection among HIV-1 discordant heterosexual couples

EN Njuguna, PN Kinuthia, M Kinoti, J Kiarie


Background: Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and HIV spread in the same manner, but HBV is more infectious  than HIV-1. Active HBV requires modification of HIV-1 therapy and is associated with increased risk for sexual transmission of HBV.
Objective: To determine the prevalence and knowledge of HBV among HIV-1 discordant couples.
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Setting: Couple Counselling Centres in Nairobi and Thika clinics in Kenya.
Subjects: HIV discordant couples attending Couples Counselling Centres in Nairobi and Thika clinics in Kenya.
Results: One hundred and sixty one couples with a mean age of 33 years (Standard Deviation 8.4) were enrolled into the study. HBV prevalence was higher among HIV positive women than among HIV negative women (10.2% vs. 5.9%, OR=0.5, 95% CI 0.2-1.0; p=0.05). However, among men, prevalence of HBV was higher among the HIV negative than the HIV positive participants (8.4 vs. 6.2%, OR=3.0, CI  1.3-6.5; p=0.04). There was no association between HBV and HIV (p=0.4) or gender (p=0.5). HIV  positive participants were more likely to have adequate knowledge compared to HIV negative participants (13% vs. 3.7%, OR=2.7, 95% CI 1.95-7.9; p=0.05)
Conclusions: Female index participants had the highest HBV prevalence. Knowledge on HBV was lacking, particularly among the HIV negative; a target group for health education regarding risk factors and prevention of HBV infection.

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