A study was conducted between the months of March and August, 2010 to ascertain the rate of mono- and co-infection of three blood-borne viral pathogens namely Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV), and Hepatitis B virus (HCV) among 500 pregnant women aged between 21 and 40, attending antenatal clinic at a tertiary health centre in Owerri. The screening of blood samples from the sample population was carried out using immunochromatographic rapid test kits including HIV1/2 test kit (Hi Tech Diagnostic Limited, Nigeria) and Bio TracerTM HBV and HCV Rapid card test kits (Bio Focus Limited, South Korea). Results revealed that all age groups sampled were positive for HIV, producing a total of 115 (23%) with the age group of 29 to 32 producing the highest infection rate of 32 (6.4%) while the least came from the age groups of 21 to 24 and 37 to 40, with 13 (2.6%) each. The result further revealed that only one case of HBsAg infection was recorded among the sample population within the age group of 37 to 40 with 1 (0.2%). There was no case of HCV recorded among the pregnant women neither was there a co-infection involving HIV and any of the hepatitis viruses. The monthly distribution of the viral pathogens revealed that the highest rate of HIV infection occurred in the month of March with 26 (5.2%), while the least occurred in the month of July with 13 (2.6%). The only HBV infection observed in the sample population was recorded in the month of April while none of the months under review recorded any case of HCV, HIV + HBV, or HIV + HCV coinfections among the studied pregnant women. Though no case of coinfection was recorded in this study, concurrent infection between HIV and the hepatitis viruses is a growing public health concern and enough awareness should be created to check its emergence in this part of Nigeria while the campaign against HIV monoinfection should be intensified to check its spread among the uninfected population.
Key words: Coinfection, pregnant women, monoinfection, Owerri, antenatal, hepatitis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
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