Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 136  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 30-35

Sexual activity as risk factor for hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission among the female sex workers in Nagaland

1 Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR), N.E. Region, Dibrugarh, India
2 National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), Pune, India
3 Family Health International (FHI), Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Jagadish Mahanta
Director, Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR), NE Region, Post Box 105, Dibrugarh 786 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background & objectives: Female sex workers (FSWs) of north-east India form a unique group as they are exposed to an enormous injecting drug user (IDU) clientele. This association makes them more vulnerable to blood borne viral infections. Over and above some of them also indulge in drug injecting practices along with their partners. The present study was carried out on FSWs to assess the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and possibility of sexual transmission of HCV and associated risk factors among them. Methods: A sample of 426 FSWs was recruited cross-sectionally using respondent driven sampling methods. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was carried out to determine the factors associated with HCV infection. Results: The seroprevalence of HCV among 426 FSWs was 9.6 per cent, antibody to HIV was present in 13.4 per cent, 4.9 per cent were co-infected with HIV and HCV. Seroprevalence of HCV among participants without history of injecting drugs use, tattooing or blood transfusion was 7.5 per cent. An increased risk of HCV seropositivity was associated with history of injecting drug use (OR 10.41, CI 4.30-25.22), use of oral drugs (OR 4.7, CI 2.4-9.08), having sexual partners who were injecting drug users (OR 2.9, CI 1.5-5.6), having live-in relationship (OR 7.1, CI 1.59-31.52), HIV seropositivity (OR 10.18, CI 5.05-20.54) and HSV-2 seropositivity (OR 2.86, CI 1.45-5.43) in univariate analysis. In the multivariate analysis, history of injecting drug use, HIV and HSV-2 seropositivity were found to be significantly associated with HCV seropositivity. Interpretation & conclusion: Although acquisition of HCV by sexual route may not be as efficient as parenteral route, yet sexual transmissibility of HCV among FSWs poses high risk to the community.

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