Seroprevalence of hepatitis C surface antigenemia among HIV-infected individuals in Aba, South Eastern, Nigeria
Background: In order for health institutions in Nigeria to contribute towards the eradication of the spread of the deadly hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, there is need for regular routine screening of all newly diagnosed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients as is done for hepatitis B virus (HBV). This would enable care providers and policy makers appreciate the burden of an otherwise neglected disease condition and know where to focus as they distribute the limited resources.
Objective: To evaluate the seroprevalence of HCV among newly diagnosed HIV patients.
Design: A hospital based prospective study.
Setting: The Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Aba in South Eastern Nigeria.
Subjects: Three hundred and six confirmed HIV positive adult patients who presented newly at the HIV treatment unit of the hospital between 1st March and 1st June 2016.
Results: The age of the patients ranged from 6-70 years with a mean of 36±10.2 years among the 306 newly diagnosed HIV patients within the studied period. The highest prevalence of HIV infection was seen between the age ranges of 30-39 years (38.20%) while the lowest prevalence was seen between the age ranges of 0-19 years (4.60%). Male prevalence of the studied population was 34.30%, giving a male to female ratio of 1:2. Age group with highest prevalence of HCV (37.5%) was 30-39 years while patients aged less than twenty (<20) or greater than seventy (≥70) had no HCV infection. Prevalence of hepatitis C infection among the HIV patients was 7.8% and was higher among females 13 (4.20%) than males 11 (3.60%) with no significant relationship between them (P>0.05). Prevalence of HCV among the patients with a CD4 count greater than 350 was 33.30%.
Conclusion: The study showed that HCV infection is relatively common in HIV –
infected individuals. It is recommended that routine screening for HCV alongside HBV should be done for all HIV seropositive individuals even in resource limited settings.