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Hepatitis B virus infection among people attending the voluntary counselling and testing centre and anti-retroviral therapy clinic of St Paul’s General Specialised Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Objective: To determine the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and its risk factors among people attending the HIV voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) centre and anti-retroviral therapy (ART) clinic at St Paul’s General Specialised Hospital.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out on consecutive attendees from 24 January 2007 to 15 February 2007. Blood samples and data on sociodemographic and HBV risk factors were collected from 620 individuals (384 VCT and 236 HIV-infected ART clinic clients). Sera were screened for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc) and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg).

Results: The prevalence of HBsAg and anti-HBc in VCT clients was 5.7% and 44.8%, respectively. Among HIV-infected persons, 3.9% were seropositive for HBsAg. There was no significant difference in HBsAg or anti-HBc seropositivity between HIV-positive and HIV-negative subjects. Anti-HBc positivity was significantly higher in men, in the age range 40–49 years, and in subjects with a history of catheterisation.

Conclusion: This study shows a high prevalence and similar distribution of HBV infection in HIV-positive and HIV-negative people. However, with the emphasis given to HIV-positive cases, screening for HBV infection is important.

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