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Prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in Singapore men with sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection: role of sexual transmission in a city state with intermediate HBV endemicity.
  1. B H Heng,
  2. K T Goh,
  3. R Chan,
  4. S K Chew,
  5. S Doraisingham,
  6. G H Quek
  1. Quarantine and Epidemiology Department, Ministry of the Environment, Singapore.


    STUDY OBJECTIVES--To describe the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in patients with sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and to determine the role of sexual transmission of HBV infection in Singapore. DESIGN--A cross sectional study of all consecutive men presenting with a new episode of STD at a government outpatient clinic and all men with HIV infection on routine follow up at a government hospital. The prevalence of various HBV markers was compared with that of healthy males aged 15 years and above (controls). SETTING--Singapore, a city state of intermediate HBV endemicity. SUBJECTS--These comprised 497 STD patients, 47 HIV infected patients, and 418 controls. MAIN RESULTS--The overall seroprevalences of HBV infection in STD patients, HIV infected patients, and control subjects were 41.2%, 61.7%, and 33.3%, respectively (p < 0.001). The seroprevalences of hepatitis B surface antigen (6.2%, 8.5%, and 4.5%, respectively) were comparable in the three groups. Using stepwise logistic regression analysis, the adjusted seroprevalences of HBV infection in STD and HIV infected patients were respectively 2.4 times (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.7, 3.3) and 3.3 times (95% CI 1.7, 6.3) higher than in controls. HBV infection rates were higher among Chinese (odds ratio (OR), 1.9; 95% CI 1.6, 3.4) than non-Chinese, and among those aged 25-34 years (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.6, 3.4), 35-44 years (OR 3.9; 95% CI 2.5, 5.9), and 45+ years (OR 6.2; 95% CI 3.8, 10.2) than in those aged 15-24 years. Sex related factors significantly associated with higher infection rates, independent of age and ethnic group, were reactive VDRL test (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.2, 4.7), participation in anal intercourse (OR 2.3; 95% CI 1.2, 4.3), and having 10 or more lifetime sexual partners (OR 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0, 2.1). CONCLUSION--The importance of sexual transmission of HBV in an area of intermediate HBV endemicity was confirmed. Patients attending STD clinics should be routinely screened for HBV markers and those found to be seronegative should be strongly advised to be immunised against this virus.

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