Potential for human immunodeficiency virus parenteral transmission in the Middle East and North Africa: An analysis using hepatitis C virus as a proxy biomarker
Pregnancy Complications, Infectious
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has endured several major events of infection parenteral transmission. Recent work has established the utility of using hepatitis C virus (HCV) as a proxy biomarker for assessing the epidemic potential for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) parenteral transmission. In this review, we use data on the prevalence of HCV infection antibody (seroprevalence) among general population and high risk population groups to assess the potential for HIV parenteral transmission in MENA. Relatively low prevalence of HCV infection in the general population groups was reported in most MENA countries indicating that parenteral HIV transmission at endemic levels does not appear to be a cause for concern. Nonetheless, there could be opportunities for localized HIV outbreaks and transmission of other blood-borne infections in some settings such as healthcare facilities. Though there have been steady improvements in safety measures related to parenteral modes of transmission in the region, these improvements have not been uniform across all countries. More precautions, including infection control training programs, surveillance systems for nosocomial infections and wider coverage and evaluation of hepatitis B virus immunization programs need to be implemented to avoid the unnecessary spread of HIV, HCV, and other blood-borne pathogens along the parenteral modes of transmission.