High occurrence of HBV among STD clinic attenders in Bombay, India

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The pattern of sexually transmitted disease (STD) is the basis for designing surveillance of specific STD, their trends and syndromic management protocols. Two hundred and fifteen consecutive first-time STD clinic attenders at a teaching hospital in Bombay were recruited for the study in October 1995. Thorough clinical examination and the following investigations were done: wet mount, Gram stain, Giemsa stain, modified Thayer-Martin (MTM) medium culture, Fontana stain, Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL), Treponema pallidium haemagglutination test (TPHA), HBsAg and HIV. Ulcerative STD constituted 73.5% of total STD while 15.8% were discharges and 10.2% were genital growths. Ulcers in decreasing order of frequency were chancroid(51.9%), genital herpes (29.1%) and syphilis (14.5). 76.5% of genital discharges were due to gonococcal infection. The high rate of ulcerative STD is possibly an important co-factor for the high HIV prevalence of 31.2% in Bombay. Of 182 patients tested for HBV, 16 (8.8%) were reactive for HBsAg, revealing a high prevalence among STD attenders. A high co-relation of HBsAg positive with either HIV or VDRL requires urgent attention for HBV intervention strategies in this population.

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