HCV and HIV prevalences strongly correlated in Asian communities with reservoirs of HIV in high-risk groups
Background: In some Asian communities, HIV epidemics initially concentrated in high-risk groups develop into generalized epidemics, while in others HIV epidemics remain confined to high-risk groups. We examined whether blood exposures in a community, as indicated by hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence, can account for the variability in HIV prevalence in Asia.
Methodology: We searched the published literature for temporally comparable HCV and HIV prevalence estimates for pregnant women and other "low-risk" population segments in Asian communities with established HIV epidemics in injection drug users or prostitute women. We assessed the correlation between HCV and HIV prevalences in these communities.
Results: HCV and HIV prevalences were strongly correlated (r = .97, p < .001).Conclusion: This finding suggests that blood-borne transmission drives generalized HIV epidemics in Asia and highlights the need for appropriately designed investigations of transmission modes.