Prevalence of HIV-1, HIV-2, Hepatitis C and Co-Infection in The Gambia
BACKGROUND: In most West African countries, the distribution and risk factors for co-infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is unknown despite the current HIV epidemic and evidence of increasing prevalence of HCV in the region.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the distribution and the risk factors for the transmission of co-infection between HIV and HCV in The Gambia.
METHODS: A total of 1500 persons referred for HIV serology at the Royal Victoria teaching Hospital were interviewed following informed consent to obtain information on their demographic variables, knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases and their prevention, and patterns of risk behavior.
Blood was collected and tested for anti-HIV and anti-HCV antibodies by Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA).
RESULTS: In the general population, the prevalence of HIV was 6.7%, while that of HCV was 2.1%. Both infections occurred more frequently in males than in females. HIV and HCV coinfection rate was 0.6%. Co-infection was significantly more common in males than females. All types of infection – HIV, HCV and HIV/HCV co-infections occurred much more in polygamous settings than in monogamy.
CONCLUSION: This study has demonstrated the extent of coinfection
with HIV and HCV in The Gambia. The prevalence of female circumcision may be a contributory occurrence factor in the transmission of HIV but not in that of HCV.
WAJM 2009; 28(1): 306–309.