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Prevalence of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) among visitors of Shashemene General Hospital voluntary counseling and testing center

Asfaw Negero1, Zufan Sisay2* and Girmay Medhin2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology, Medewelabu University, Bale Goba, Ethiopia

2 Aklilu Lemma Institute of Pathobiology, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:35  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-35

Published: 9 February 2011



Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is significant health problem, as it can lead to chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and hepatic carcinoma. Due to shared routes of transmission, HBV and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection is common and is an emerging concern in the clinical management of patients because of increased mortality, accelerated hepatic disease progression, and the frequent hepatotoxicity caused by anti-retroviral therapy. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and its risk factors, among individuals visiting Shashemene General Hospital VCT center.


Institution based cross-sectional study was performed from November 3, 2008 to December 29, 2008 and 384 voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) clients were investigated. Data on socio demographic and HBV risk factors was collected using structured questionnaires. Blood samples were collected and screened for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and HIV by commercially available rapid test kits. The prevalence of HBsAg in this study group was 5.7%. Fourteen percent of HIV positive subjects (8/57) and 4.3% (14/327) of HIV negative subjects were positive for HBsAg. Significantly high prevalence of HBsAg was observed among individuals who had history of invasive procedures, like tooth extraction, abortion and ear piercing; history of hospital admission, history of unsafe inject and HIV positives.


Although HBsAg prevalence is much higher among subjects who are HIV positive (14.0% versus 4.3%), the prevalence of HBsAg in HIV negative subjects is high enough to warrant a recommendation to screen all clients at VCT centers irrespective of HIV status.