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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 110-115

Hepatitis B and C viral infections in Tihamet Aseer, south-western Saudi Arabia: Are there gender differences?

Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Suliman M Al-Humayed
Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, P.O. Box 641, Abha 61421
Saudi Arabia
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DOI: 10.4103/1658-631X.204853

PMID: 30787767

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Background: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is endemic in Saudi Arabia. Many studies have shown varying results in gender differences in HBV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The objective of this study was to determine if gender differences exist in HBV and HCV infection and to elucidate any related risk factors in Tihamet Aseer, south-western Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: The study was a cross-sectional study of a representative sample of males and females in Tihamet Aseer, south-western Saudi Arabia. A comprehensive questionnaire was completed by all participants. Blood samples were taken and sera were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen and HCV antibodies by fourth-generation enzyme immunoassays. Results: The study included 1532 participants from the Tihamet Aseer area. An overall seroprevalence of 7.9% and 1.7% was found for HBV and HCV infections, respectively. In logistic regression analysis, no gender differences were found for HBV seroprevalence. Identified risk factors for HBV infection included a history of blood transfusion and lack of hepatitis B vaccination. On the other hand, females were more prone to become seropositive for HCV (adjusted odds ratio = 5.034, 95% confidence interval: 1.042–9.321). Other identified risk factors for HCV infection were illiteracy and a history of blood transfusion. Conclusion: The prevalence and HBV and HCV infection is high compared to the national figures. Gender differences were only observed in HCV infection. It is recommended to have an active educational and media campaign. A “catch-up” vaccination program against HBV should be introduced for adults as a strategy to achieve the herd immunity effect in the affected area.

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