Hepatitis C Virus Infection among Pregnant Women in Ibadan, Nigeria: Prevalence, Correlates and Co-infection with HIV


Aim: Vertical transmission of Hepatitis C virus, often enhanced in the presence of HIV co-infection, results in unidentified perinatally infected children who present in adulthood with long-term complications of chronic liver disease. This study was set out to determine the prevalence of chronic HCV infection, co-infection with HIV and associated risk factors among pregnant women in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Study Design: A cross sectional study.

Method: A total of 180 pregnant women attending the ante-natal clinic of the University College Hospital Ibadan, from March to August 2013, were screened for HCV using third generation Enzyme Linked Immuno-absorbent Assay (ELISA) and confirmatory assay using nucleic acid tests were done on positive samples. Anti-HIV-1 antibodies were identified using qualitative immunoassay determine test strips. Pretested validated questionnaire were used to obtain bio-data on sociodemographic characteristics and presence of possible risk factors for HCV infection. Data analyses was done using SPSS version 20.

Results: Overall seroprevalence of anti-HCV antibody was 1.7% (3/180) and anti-HIV-1 antibody was 20.6% (37/180). All HCV positive samples had HCV RNA identified in them but no detectable viraemia. No co-infection between HCV/HIV was observed. Low level of education, marital status, and positive history of surgical procedures, blood transfusion and jaundice was significantly associated HCV infection.

Conclusion: Hepatitis C virus infection is less prevalent than HIV infection among pregnant women in Ibadan and its co-infection with HIV is uncommon. The sexual behavioural risk factors identified in this study were not predictors of HCV infection; however, these factors may predispose these pregnant women to other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

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