Prevalence of Hepatitis Among Opioid Drug Users Receiving Methadone-Assisted Therapy in Southern Highlands Zone (SHL), Tanzania

Author: Adela Peter Luswetula Damali Lucas Hijja Wazee Jackson Mbogela David Maganga Sally Chalamila Enicko Akom

Theme: Epidemiology & Public Health Research Year: 2022

Background: People with opioid use disorders are more at risk of contracting infectious diseases
such as HIV, hepatitis B and C. Increasing hepatitis screening particularly among vulnerable
population is key to achieve World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030.
This study aims to estimate prevalence of hepatitis among people with opioid use disorders
receiving (MAT) in SHL.
Methodology: Data analysis was conducted among opioid drug user attending methadone clinics at
MZRH and Tunduma MAT clinics in the southern highland zone, Tanzania from November 2021 to
January 2022. Hepatitis B test was done by rapid HBsAg, and hepatitis C virus (HCV) was tested using
rapid anti-hepatitis C antibody while HIV test was done following national HIV testing a logarithm to
all 213 active clients.
Results: Overall positivity for Viral hepatitis (either hepatitis B surface antigen or anti-hepatitis C
antibodies) among PWUD/PWID was 9.3% while of that of hepatitis C infections was 6.7 % and
hepatitis B was 6.7%. Prevalence of HCV among PWIDs was found to be around 15.1%. Prevalence of
HIV among participants was 13%. 4 clients (2%) had HIV and HCV co-infection. Viral hepatitis was
strongly associated with older age >30 years (p<0.05). positive HCV was strongly associated with
injecting drug (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The study provides baseline prevalence of viral hepatis among opioids drug users
receiving MAT in SHL. The prevalence of HCV was found to be higher than the general population in
the country which estimated to be 2%, this requires additional RT-PCR tests to determine active
infection and viral load to rule-out possible complication associated with hepatitis. further work to
remove barrier in diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis among PWUD/PWIDs is required in
elimination of hepatitis as well as prevention of development of chronic liver diseases.
Disclosure of Interest: None

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