HIV Infection in Long-Distance Truck Drivers in a Low Income Setting in the Niger Delta of Nigeria
The aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence, and correlates of HIV infection among long-distance truck drivers in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. A total of one hundred (100) long-distance truck drivers aged between 21 and 60 years and mean age of 42.36 ± 5.23 years were screened for the presence of HIV antibodies. The results showed that, out of the total number screened 10 (10%) were positive for HIV while 90 (90%) were negative. The prevalence of HIV was significantly higher in the 31–40 years age group 6/26 (23%) compared to 1/13 (7.6%) in the 21–30 years age group and 2/37 (7.4%) in the 51–60 years age group (P = 0.04).The lowest prevalence of HIV occurred in the 41–50 years age group 1/24 (4.2%). HIV 1 was the predominant viral subtype among the subjects 9 (90%) while 1 (10%) had HIV-2. None of the HIV-positive subjects had dual HIV 1 and 2 infections. The mean CD4 lymphocyte count for subjects positive for HIV was 380 ± 68.0 (range 312–448 cells/μl) while CD4 count for HIV negative subjects was 780 ± 76 cells/μl (range 704–856 cells/μl. A significant negative correlation was observed between HIV positivity and CD4 count r = −0.010 (P = 0.01). It is recommended that intensive preventive measures be instituted coupled with the implementation of a vigorous enlightenment campaign targeting behavioral change from high risk culture among truckers. Efforts are urgently needed to provide access to sexual health education, treatment services and HIV testing facilities to reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection.
KeywordsHIV Prevalence Long distance drivers Niger Delta Nigeria
The authors would like especially to thank the staff of the Diagnostic AND Research Laboratory of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology and Braithwaite Memorial Hospital as well as the peer facilitators and counselors for their collaboration. The authors also thank the long-distance truckers for participating in the study and the executive members of the Truck drivers Union in Eleme and Iwofe trailer park for their collaboration.
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