Seroprevalence of syphilis among blood donors in Ilorin
Background: One of the greatest values of serological test for syphilis is as a surrogate marker for lifestyle known to be associated with high risk of HIV and HCV infections. This study was designed to determine the prevalence of syphilis among blood donors in Ilorin and also the relationship between seropositivity and lifestyle known to be associated with high risk for HIV and Hepatitis infection.
Method: This was a hospital based cross sectional study involving 350 consenting blood donors. The socio-demographic details (e.g., age, sex, occupation, risk behavior etc) were obtained using a structured questionnaire designed for the study. Screening for syphilis was carried out using the DiaSpot Rapid Diagnostic Test kit (DS 401- Syphilis test strips; lot: SYP2070028) according to the manufacturer's (Sam Tech Diagnostics) instructions.
Result: The seroprevalence of syphilis among the blood donors was 1.1%. None of the seropositive donors was a homosexual, commercial sex worker or intravenous drug user. None of them had history of blood transfusion. Only one out of the 4 seropositive donors engaged in extramarital sex.
Conclusion: The seroprevalence of syphilis among blood donors in Ilorin was low and therefore the relationship between syphilis seropositivity and high risk lifestyle could not be determined. A prospective study design where cases and controls are appropriately matched to exclude confounders would be more appropriate. The relationship of syphilis seropositivity and high risk lifestyle can therefore be better studied among patients attending Sexually Transmitted Infection clinic and using seronegative patients as controls.
Keywords: syphilis, blood donors, risky lifestyle