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Prevalence and Risk Factors for Hepatitis C Virus Infection among Young Thai Men

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  • Biomedical Sciences Program, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Thammasat University, Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani, Thailand; Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand; Army Institute of Pathology, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand; Royal Thai Army, Headquarters Ratchadamnoen, Bangkok, Thailand; Department of Military and Community Medicine, Phramongkutklao College of Medicine, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand

Epidemiologic studies of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are unusual in developing countries, especially Thailand. We evaluated the prevalence and risk factors for HCV among military conscripts, including a sample of 5,246 men (1:30 sample), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 positive men (N = 500) between 2005 and 2008. The HCV prevalence was 2.2% in the sampled group and 8.4% in HIV-1 sero-positives. Among the sampled group, HIV-1 infection, injection drug use (IDU) history, and unsafe injections were associated with HCV infection; adjusted prevalence rate ratios [RRs; 95% confidence intervals (CIs)] were 3.7 (1.04–12.77), 1.9 (1.04–3.54), and 1.8 (1.02–3.11), respectively. Among HIV-1 sero-positives, an IDU history and residence in southern Thailand were associated with HCV prevalence; adjusted RRs (95% CIs) were 3.5 (1.71–7.24) and 2.6 (1.18–5.61), respectively. Public health measures to prevent HCV in Thailand should focus on reducing injection drug use and other exposures to unsafe injections among young Thai men.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Ram Rangsin, Department of Military and Community Medicine, Phramongkutklao College of Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand. E-mail: rrangsin@pmk.ac.th

Financial support: This study was supported by the Phramongkutklao Hospital Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (Grants 1R01TW006972–01A1, 5R01TW006972–02, 5R01TW006972–03, and 5R01TW006972–04), and the National Research Council of Thailand.

Authors' addresses: Anchalee Jatapai, Biomedical Sciences Program, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Thammasat University, Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani, Thailand. Kenrad E. Nelson, Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Thippawan Chuenchitra and Khunakorn Kana, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand. Sakol Eiumtrakul, Royal Thai Army, Headquarters Ratchadamnoen, Bangkok, Thailand. Ekachai Sunantarod, Army Institute of Pathology, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand. Ram Rangsin, Department of Military and Community Medicine, Phramongkutklao College of Medicine, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand, E-mail: rrangsin@pmk.ac.th.

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