STUDIES ON THE PREVALENCE AND CO-INFECTION OF HEPATITIS B VIRUS (HBV) AND HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (HIV) IN BENUE STATE, NIGERIA
This study carried out in Benue State was to determine the distribution of HBV infection markers with HDV and the state of HBV infection among the sample population, determine the prevalence of HBV and HIV singly and concomitantly, ascertain the impact of single and dual HBV and HIV infections on some liver enzyme profiles and assess the influence of some associated risk factors on the spread of HBV and HIV among some study groups. A total of 1535 randomly collected blood specimens from different groups of consenting subjects were screened by ELISA for Hepatitis B virus Markers. HIV 1 and 2 antibodies were screened for in sera using Determine and HIV1/2 Stat Pak test strips. Blood specimens were also quantitatively assayed for alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and serum bilirubin using standard methods. Other information was obtained through administration of structured questionnaire. Data were analysed using Chi square test and analysis of variance. Of the 1535 sampled individuals, 1319 (85.9%) showed a serological evidence of exposure to HBV infection, some through natural infection (22.7%) and others (13.0%) through vaccination; 12% of the sampled individuals were currently infected and 91.2% of these were chronically infected. Overall, 184 (12.0%) had HBV infection and 244 (15.9%) had HIV while 42 (2.7%) had both HBV and HIV infections. HBV infection was significantly higher in Zone C (P < 0.05), while HIV was higher (P < 0.001) in Zones A and B than in Zone C. The study also associated distribution of HIV with separated marriages (P < 0.001), alcoholism (P < 0.05), smoking (P < 0.001), blood transfusion (P < 0.001) and surgery (P < 0.001). Persistent complaint of abdominal pains as well as undiagnosed claims of stomach/peptic ulcer was significantly associated with HIV positivity (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001 respectively). Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level in sera was significantly higher in concomitant HBV-HIV infected individuals compared with HIV singly-infected individuals (P < 0.05), HBV singly-infected (P < 0.05), HIV positive individuals on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) (P < 0.05) and the control subjects (rP < 0.001). Direct bilirubin had higher elevation among HBV singly-infected individuals compared with HIV infected individuals on HAART (P < 0.05) and those not on HAART (P < 0.05). Thus, the study underscores the endemicity of HBV and HIV with its attendant consequences in Benue State.