Background/purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the seroprevalence of viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted disease (STD) co-infections among three populations at risk recently diagnosed with HIV infection. Methods: A retrospective review of medical records was performed to determine the prevalence of several co-infections among adults recently diagnosed with HIV infection between 2000 and 2005 at National Cheng Kung University Hospital in Tainan, Taiwan. Results: Among a total of 484 adults, 124 (25.6%) were men having sex with men (MSM), 105 (21.7%) were heterosexual adults, and 255 (52.7%) were injection drug users (IDUs). The case number of adults with recently diagnosed HIV infection increased annually, from 27 in 2000 to 142 in 2005 (p<0.001). This trend appeared to be attributable to the upsurge in HIV infection among IDUs beginning in 2003. At the time of HIV diagnosis, mean CD4+ counts were significantly higher and plasma HIV-1 RNA loads were lower in the IDU group than the MSM or heterosexual groups. The hepatitis B virus (HBV) carrier rate was similar in all three groups, with an average rate of 16.5%. The prevalence of treponemal antibody and Entamoeba histolytica indirect hemagglutination antibody was higher in MSM (37.5% and 9.4%, respectively) than in heterosexuals (19.6% and 7.3%, respectively) or IDUs (3.2% and 2.1%). The seroprevalence of hepatitis A virus infection increased with age, with 94.2% (97/103) of patients who were older than 40 years. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) or HBV-HCV co-infections were noted more often in IDUs (97.9% and 16.9%, respectively) than in heterosexuals (10.9% and 2.2%, respectively) and MSM (5.3% and 3.6%, respectively). Conclusion: There was a recent upsurge in HIV-HCV co-infected IDUs in southern Taiwan. A higher rate of co-infection with STDs among HIV-infected MSM highlights the need for integrated STD control efforts in current HIV prevention programs.
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