Background HBV and HCV share similar modes of transmission including the sexual route. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of HBV and HCV infections among STD patients in Farwaniya region of Kuwait.
Methods 1298 patients (1240 M, 58 F) presenting with history and/or signs and symptoms suggestive of an STD, seen over a period of one-year (January 2012 to December 2012) presenting to Farwania hospital dermatology department were included. Serology for HBV, HCV, HIV, and syphilis were done in all patients. HBV and HCV serology were performed in 1148 age and sex matched controls also, attending the same clinic with non-STD dermatological conditions.
Results Mean age + SD of patients was 33.91+9.70 years (Age range: 19–58 years). Majority of the patients were heterosexual (99.6%). No history of blood transfusion, surgery, hospitalisation, parenteral drug use or traditional healing practises was found in any of the patients. Urethral discharge was the most common diagnosis (584), followed by genital warts (306), genital herpes (175), mollusca contagiosa (69) and syphilis (8). History of sexual encounter with concern/suspicion for an STD was reported by 166 patients. Most of the patients were expats. H/o recent travel was present in 159 patients. HCV was detected in 12/1298 patients (0.92%) and 6/1148 controls (0.52%). Serology for HBV and HIV were negative in all patients as well as controls.
Discussion Sexual transmission of HCV is low and controversial especially among monogamous heterosexuals. It is being recognised as an emerging STD among HIV positive homosexuals. Detection of HCV among more number of STD patients (0.92%) without other risk factors, compared to non-STD dermatology patients (0.52%) in Farwania, Kuwait emphasises that sexual transmission of HCV is possible.
Conclusion Patients with STDs are at risk for HCV infection and should be tested for HCV serology during their work-up.
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