Prevalence of HIV-1 antibody among groups of patients and healthy subjects from a rural and urban population in the Mwanza region, Tanzania

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In April 1987, antibody to HIV-1 was determined in sera from 764 subjects from the Mwanza region in the north of Tanzania. Patients with a clinical suspicion of AIDS were HIV-1 antibody-positive in 65.4% (34 out of 52) and patients admitted for pulmonary tuberculosis in 25% (9 out of 36). In patients attending general outpatient departments (OPD), HIV antibody was found in 12.5% of 48 patients with a history of sexually transmitted disease (STD) and in 10.6% of 141 patients without such a history. In healthy subjects, HIV-1 antibody was present in 6% of 332 pregnant women and in 4.5% of 155 blood donors. Of the blood donors, pregnant women and OPD patients without a history of STD (628 subjects in all), 465 belonged to the rural population of the region and the majority were peasants. In this subgroup, the HIV-1 antibody prevalence was 4.8% in blood donors, 4.9% in pregnant women and 10.3% in OPD patients. This indicates a spread of HIV-1 among the population in this part of Tanzania. Further studies are needed to determine what proportion of the population is affected.

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