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An unlinked anonymous survey was conducted to measure the prevalence of selected markers for HIV, hepatitis B and C infection in recruits to the UK Armed Forces to inform future screening and hepatitis B vaccination policies. During 2007, nearly 14 000 left-over samples taken from new recruits for blood typing were collected, unlinked from identifiers and anonymously tested for HIV, hepatitis C and current and past cleared hepatitis B infection. Overall, serological evidence of HIV and hepatitis C was found in 0·06% and 0·06% of recruits, respectively. Evidence of past cleared and current hepatitis B infection was found in 3·63% and 0·37% of recruits, respectively. Overall, prevalence rates were broadly consistent with UK population estimates of infection. However, HIV and hepatitis B prevalence was higher in recruits of African origin than in those from the UK (P<0·0001). Screening for these infections is an option that could be considered for those entering Services from high-prevalence countries.

Original publication





Epidemiology and infection

Publication Date





1166 - 1171


Health Protection Services, Health Protection Agency Colindale, London, UK.


Humans, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV Infections, Seroepidemiologic Studies, Military Personnel, Female, Male, Young Adult, United Kingdom