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Open Access Short Report

Prevalence and risk factors of Hepatitis C among individuals presenting to HIV testing centers, Hawassa city, Southern Ethiopia

Addisu Alemayehu1, Yayehyirad Tassachew1, Zufan Sisay2 and Techalew Shimelis1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Hawassa University, P. O. Box: 1560 Hawassa, Ethiopia

2 Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, Addis Ababa University, P. O. Box: 1176, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:193  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-193

Published: 15 June 2011

Abstract

Background

Hepatitis C virus (HCV), either alone or in combination with Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), constitutes a major public health concern. This study was conducted to describe the prevalence and risk factors for HCV infection in people with and without HIV infection.

Methods

Blood samples and data on socio-demographic and risk factors for HCV infection were collected from consecutive 400 HIV- positive and 400 HIV- negative individuals attending HIV testing centers in Hawassa city, from October to December, 2008. All sera were tested for antibody to HCV infection (anti-HCV) using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Sera positive for anti-HCV were further tested for viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) levels using real-time polymerase chain reaction.

Results

The rate of anti-HCV positivity was 10.5% in the HIV- infected individuals compared with 6% in the HIV negative group (p = 0.002). HCV-RNA was detected in 9.1% of anti-HCV positive samples and rates were comparable between HIV- infected and HIV- non-infected individuals. There was no significant difference in odds of HCV infection in participants with and without HCV risk factors in either HIV sero-group.

Conclusion

HIV infected individuals had significantly higher rate of anti-HCV although most of them showed no evidence of viraemia. Hence, while priority should be given for HIV infected patients, testing those with anti-HCV for HCV-RNA remains important.

Keywords:
Prevalence; hepatitis C virus; human immunodeficiency virus; co- infection