Prevalence of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency viruses, and evaluation of risk factors for transmission: Report of a population screening in Nigeria

  • U.C. Okonkwo
  • H Okpara
  • A Otu
  • S Ameh
  • Y Ogarekpe
  • H Osim
  • M Inyama


Background. Hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV are common blood-borne infections unevenly distributed across regions in Nigeria. Few population-based prevalence studies have been done in Nigeria.

Objective. To determine the prevalence of HBV, HCV and HIV and risk factors for infection with these viruses in a Nigerian population.

Methods. Hepatitis B surface antigen, anti-HCV and HIV were assayed in 1 498 healthy adult participants. A structured questionnaire was used to assess risk factors for viral acquisition. Bivariate analysis was used to compare differences in sociodemographic characteristics. Significant risk factors were identified by stepwise logistic regression. A p-value <0.05 was considered significant.

Results. The prevalences of HBV, HCV and HIV were 8.8%, 10.0% and 12.9%, respectively, with urban/rural disparity. HBV/HCV positivity was higher among males than females. The reverse was true for HIV. Age was significantly associated with being HBV-, HCV- or HIV positive. Communal use of a toothbrush was significantly associated with HBV positivity in the final model (odds ratio 2.46, 95% confidence interval 1.45 - 4.18).

Conclusions. The prevalence of HBV, HCV and HIV infection is high in Nigeria, with urban/rural disparity. HCV may be more of a public health concern than HBV in some communities. Population-based studies are required to provide vital data to inform optimal national control strategies.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135