Evaluation of Hepatitis C virus seroprevalence in patients with Sexually Transmitted Diseases in São Paulo, Brazil / Avaliação da soroprevalência do vírus da hepatite C em pacientes portadores de doenças sexualmente transmissíveis na cidade de São Paulo




Introduction: The infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is currently one of the major issues in public health all over the world. The viruss main route of transmission is parenteral, either by transfusion of blood and blood products or by intravenous drug use. The transmission of HCV by sexual contact is questionable, and has become the focus of recent studies. Objective: To evaluate the rate of hepatitis C virus detection in patients with sexually transmitted diseases, and to correlate the serologic findings with risk factors for acquiring the HCV, in order to study the role of the sexual contact as a mode of transmission of the virus. Methods: One thousand patients with sexually transmitted diseases who regularly attended the outpatient clinic of the University of São Paulo School of Public Health and the Division of Dermatologys outpatient clinic for Sexually Transmitted Diseases at the University of São Paulo Clinics Hospital were admitted to the study, from January 2004 to December 2006. Patients were enquired about risk factors for hepatitis C virus acquisition. Analyzed data included age, sexual orientation, blood or blood product transfusion before 1993, intravenous drug use and presence of tattoos or body piercing. Blood samples were then collected for both hepatitis C and HIV serologic testing. Results: Forty-four of the 1,000 patients studied (4.4%) had positive hepatitis C virus serology. Among those patients with no risk factors for hepatitis C infection, the rate of positive serology was 3.68%. Risk factors significantly associated (p<0.05) with hepatitis C virus acquisition were: intravenous drug use, concomitant HIV infection and age 29 years or greater. Conclusions: Through a multivariate analysis, our study showed that the risk factors with a statistically significant correlation with hepatitis C virus positivity were intravenous drug use, HIV infection and age 29 years or greater, which were similar to those described in other studies. There was no significant association between HCV positivity and tattoos, body piercing or sexual orientation. However, the prevalence of hepatitis C virus in our study population and in the subgroup of patients with no risk factors was higher than the prevalence in other populational studies. These results suggest that sexual contact should be considered as a possible mode of hepatitis C virus transmission, even though it may have a secondary role


prevalence prevalência hepatitis c estudos soroepidemiológicos sexually transmitted diseases seroepidemiologic studies hepatite c doenças sexualmente transmissíveis

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