Prevalence and factors associated with HSV-2 and hepatitis B infections among truck drivers crossing the southern Brazilian border


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Abstract

ObjectivesThe authors estimate the prevalence of HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) infection and correlates of HBV and HSV-2 infection among truck drivers crossing the southern Brazilian border at Foz do Iguaçu.MethodsBetween October 2003 and March 2005, 1945 truck drivers were sampled while accessing voluntary counselling and testing services; 1833 (94.2%) were tested for HIV (ELISA and confirmatory immunofluorescence assay) and syphilis (non-treponemal (VDRL) and treponemal tests (FTA-ABS)). From these, 799 stored sera were tested for HSV-2 (type-specific ELISA test for detection of IgG) and HBV (core antibodies (anti-HBc) with positives tested for surface antigen (HBsAg)). The authors estimate HIV, syphilis, HSV-2 and HBV prevalence and determine socio-demographic and behavioural correlates of HSV-2 infection and HBV exposure.ResultsHIV prevalence was 0.3% (95% CI 0.1 to 0.6) and syphilis 4.5% (95% CI 3.6 to 5.4). Among those tested for HBV and HSV-2, 32.3% (95% CI 28.9 to 35.6) had serological evidence of exposure to HBV and 26.6% (95% CI 23.5 to 29.7) tested positive for HSV-2. Factors independently associated with HBV exposure included increasing age, Brazilian nationality and unprotected anal sex. Increasing age and reporting an unknown number of lifetime partners were associated with HSV-2 infection.ConclusionsIn this sample of truck drivers in southern Brazil, HIV prevalence was lower than national population estimates; exposure to HBV was higher than population estimates, while per cent positive for HSV-2 was similar to population estimates. The low prevalence of HIV in truck drivers indicates prevention successes; however, future HIV prevention programming should incorporate HBV vaccination and sexually transmitted infection prevention.

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