Anti-HCV antibody among newly diagnosed HIV patients in Ughelli, a suburban area of Delta State Nigeria.|
Newton, Ogbodo Ekene; Otue, Akpevwe Oghene & Okonko, Iheanyi Omezuruike
Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) share common routes of infection and
as such, co-infection is expected. Co-infection of the two viruses is of great medical importance as it determines the effect
of drugs used for treatment at various stages.
Objective: This interplay between HIV and HCV sets the tone for the objective of this study which is to ascertain the seroprevalence
of HCV among newly diagnosed HIV patients in Ughelli, a suburban area of Delta State, Nigeria.
Methods: A total of 200 newly diagnosed HIV-positive patients were recruited for this study. Each of the sera was tested
for anti-HCV antibody using SWE-life HCV ultra rapid test strip. Appropriate questionnaires were used to ascertain other
important information which include social behaviour such as whether the patients were MSM (males), IDU, tattoo and/or
have received blood transfusion in the past.
Results: The prevalence of HCV among the study population was determined to be 15.0%. A higher seroprevalence was
observed among females (16.5%) than in males (13.0%). A higher seroprevalence was also observed among age groups >26
years (16.0%) than in age-groups 14-25 years (13.0%) and 2-13 years (0.0%). Of the 7 patients with tattoos, 1(14.3%) tested
positive for HCV compared to 29(15.0%) with no tattoos. We found no significant correlation with transfusion, intravenous
drug use (IDU), men that have sex with men (MSM), tattooing and the seroprevalence of HCV. However, significant correlation
existed with age, sex and HCV prevalence.
Conclusion: This study reports a 15.0% seroprevalence of HCV among newly diagnosed HIV patients and that is alarmingly
well above several other studies done in the past in Nigeria and other countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Planned prevention,
screening, and treatment are needed to reduce further transmission and morbidity. Future studies involving HCV-RNA
assays are needed.
HIV; HCV; Hepatitis; co-infection; intravenous drug use