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Seroprevalence of Hepatitis B and Human Immunodeficency Virus infections in pregnant women in Nigeria

GE Imade
AS Sagay
BT Ugwu
TD Thacher
RW Ford


There is a rising prevalence of blood borne infections such as Hepatitis B (HBV) and HIV worldwide, especially in developing countries. This study was conducted to establish the prevalence rate of HIV and Hepatitis B infections and to determine the risk to which Health workers and neonates are exposed in our centre. Anonymous and unlinked blood samples of 230 pregnant women delivered between the period of March 1998 and October, 1999 at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Jos, Nigeria were tested for HIV-1 and total antibody to Hepatitis B virus core antigen (HBcAg). The women had a mean age of 36.7±7.5 years (Range 18 – 44 years). The prevalence of HBcAg was 145/229 (63.3 %) and HIV-1 was 7/230 (3.0 %). Combined infection with both HBV and HIV was found in 5 women. The presence of HBcAg antibody was unrelated to age, parity, marital status, level of education, or history of previous jaundice or blood transfusion. Infant birth weight in the index delivery was not affected by the HBcAg antibody status. The prevalence of Hepatitis B and HIV-1 observed in this study has obvious implications related to nosocomial and vertical transmission of these infections. Strict adherence to “universal precautions”, selective use of antiretroviral drugs, and vaccination of neonates and health workers against HBV for the prevention of these infections are indicated.

Keywords: HBV, HIV, Pregnancy, universal, precaution

Journal of Medicine in the Tropics Vol. 6(2) 2004: 15-21