Transfusion-transmissible infectious agents such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and syphilis are among the greatest threats to blood safety for the recipient. This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence, risk factors and trends of HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis infections among blood donors over a period of five years at Gondar University Teaching Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia.
A retrospective analysis of consecutive blood donors' records covering the period between January 2003 and December 2007 was conducted. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine risk factors associated with HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis infections.
From the total of 6361 consecutive blood donors, 607 (9.5%) had serological evidence of infection with at least one pathogen and 50 (0.8%) had multiple infections. The overall seroprevalence of HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis was 3.8%, 4.7%, 0.7%, and 1.3% respectively. Among those with multiple infections, the most common combinations were HIV - syphilis 19 (38%) and HIV - HBV 17 (34%). The seropositivity of HIV was significantly increased among female blood donors, first time donors, housewives, merchants, soldiers, drivers and construction workers. Significantly increased HBV seropositivity was observed among farmers, first time donors and age groups of 26 - 35 and 36 - 45 years. Similarly, the seroprevalence of syphilis was significantly increased among daily labourers and construction workers. Statistically significant association was observed between syphilis and HIV infections, and HCV and HIV infections. Moreover, significantly declining trends of HIV, HCV and syphilis seropositivity were observed over the study period.
A substantial percentage of the blood donors harbour HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis infections. Strict selection of blood donors and comprehensive screening of donors' blood using standard methods are highly recommended to ensure the safety of blood for recipient.