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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 71-75

HIV seroprevalence in emergency department patients: Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, 1999

Department of Haematology & Blood Transfusions, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
O A Esan
Department of Haematology & Blood Transfusions, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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The emergency department patients represent a cross-section of the entire population and values of HIV seroprevalence in them have been used to assess the general trends of HIV surveillance in other countries. The objectives of this study is to determine 1. Whether seroprevalence of HIV antibodies in patients attending emergency departments could serve as a marker of prevalence of HIV antibody in the general population. 2. The degree of clinical suspicion or knowledge of the medical personnel to the status o the HIV seropositive patients is also evaluated. A total of 312 emergency department patients of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) had their blood samples screened for antibodies against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) types I and II by ELISA based techniques: Immunocomb II HIV I & II Bispot Kits. Repeatedly reactive samples were confirmed by another ELISA based technique using Immunocomb I & II Combfirm kits. The attending medical doctor was asked whether there was any suspicion or knowledge that the patient being attended to, was HIV seropositive. The seroprevalence of HIV antibodies was 5.77% with no significant difference in sex incidence. The age groups 20-29 and 30-39 years were most affected. The seropositive nature of affected patients was unsuspected by medical personnel in 55.56% of the HIV antibodies seropositive patients. The Federal Ministry of Health in 2000, estimated the National prevalence rate of HIV to have been 5.4% in 1998. This figure is comparable to that obtained in this study and revalidates the fact that emergency department patients may be used for disease surveillance in the population. The seropositive status of majority of the HIV positive patients was unsuspected by the attending medical personnel. Thus, strict adherence to universal safety precautions is essential for all medical personnel. Post exposure prophylaxis should be made readily accessible to all medical personnel.

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