Higher prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies among HIV-positive compared to HIV-negative inhabitants of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ayele W, Nokes DJ, Abebe A, Messele T, Dejene A, Enquselassie F, Rinke de Wit TF, Fontanet AL
J Med Virol. 2002;68

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Serum samples (n = 4,593) collected in 1994 as part of a representative household community survey of the population of Addis Ababa who were 0-49 years old were tested for hepatitis C (HCV) antibodies. A third generation ELISA was used for primary screening and a line immunoblot assay for confirmation. HCV antibody prevalence was 0.9% (95% CI, 0.6-1.2%) and higher among HIV-positive compared to HIV-negative individuals (4.5% vs. 0.8%, respectively, P < 0.001). Similar higher prevalence of HCV antibodies was seen among HIV-positive compared to HIV-negative antenatal care attenders (2.9% vs. 0.8%, respectively, P = 0.003, n = 1,725), and sex workers (5.3% vs. 1.3%, respectively, P = 0.02, n = 383). Such association between HCV and HIV infection has not been described previously in Africa. After stratification by HIV status, HCV prevalence among women of the general population was identical to that of sex workers, suggesting that HCV sexual transmission is not common in this population and that HIV infection does not enhance susceptibility to HCV sexual transmission.