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Characteristics of HIV-infected women and factors associated with HCV seropositivity in the Republic of Georgia

DOI: 10.1186/1742-6405-8-25

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Abstract:

All women aged ≥18 years who were diagnosed with HIV between 1989 and 2006 were identified through the National HIV/AIDS surveillance database. Medical records were reviewed for demographic characteristics, risk factors and HCV serostatus. A total of 249 women were identified. Only 4% declared injection drug use (IDU); sex work was reported by 9%. Substantial risk factors were identified among the women's sexual partners, nearly 69% of whom were IDUs, 84% were HIV positive and 66% HCV positive. Seventeen percent of women were seropositive for HCV. Factors significantly associated with HCV seropositivity in bivariate analyses among non-IDU women were partner IDU+ [Prevalence ratio (PR): 4.5 (95% CI: 1.4, 14.2)], and partner HCV+ [PR: 7.2 (95% CI: 1.8, 29.5)].The HIV epidemic in the Republic of Georgia is closely tied to the IDU community. Evidence-based interventions targeting IDU and partners of IDU are urgently required to halt the spread of the HIV epidemic in the country.The Newly Independent States (NIS) of Eurasia have the highest rates of HIV infection in the region [1,2]. The HIV epidemic here has been closely linked with the socioeconomic and political upheavals of the early 1990s and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The emergence of drug markets and injection drug use (IDU) is now the major driver of the epidemic in the region [3,4]. The burgeoning IDU population was accompanied by an explosive spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV; today, the IDU population is almost universally infected with HCV and the majority is co-infected with HIV [5-7].Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Georgia is an independent nation with a population of about 4.5 million. Compared to other NIS, Georgia's HIV epidemic started later and grew more slowly. The first case of HIV was reported in 1989; as of December 31, 2006, a cumulative 1,156 HIV cases had been reported. Nearly 78% of cases are men and 22% women. Although the estimated HIV prevalence in Georgia is low (< 0.1%),

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