HIV-1 seroprevalence and subtypes in police recruits from Afar regional state, Ethiopia.
Zewde A., Bahiru S., Sanders E., Tilahun T., Beyene A., Alebachew M., Schaap A., Wolday D., Rinke de Wit TF.
Surveillance for HIV-1 prevalence and subtypes in Afar Region, Ethiopia was performed among police recruits in the year 2000, by unlinked anonymous testing. Of 408 samples tested, 26 (6.4%) appeared positive for HIV-1 antibodies. There was a trend for higher HIV-1 seroprevalence in women (9.5%, 9/95) than men (5.4%, 17/313), which was significant in one of the 5 administrative areas: Zone 4 (p = 0.01). Around the principal transportation route connecting Addis Ababa to the harbor of Djibouti there was a significantly (p = 0.03) higher HIV-1 seroprevalence of 12.7% (14/110) than elsewhere in Afar Region. In addition, 13 (34%) of the 29 administrative sub-areas (woredas) of Afar Region delivered HIV-1 positive police recruits. Prevalence of syphilis antibodies was 7.4% (30/408), increasing by age, correlating with HIV-1 positive serology (p = 0.001) and with 23.3% (7/30) active cases. Of 22 specimens sequenced, 12 had gp120 V3 regions from Ethiopian subtype C, 9 subtype C' and 1 subtype A. In conclusion, even in very remote areas in Ethiopia, such as Afar Region, the HIV-1 epidemic is established, being primarily of subtype C. Regular HIV-1 surveillances will be necessary to guide action to prevent further spread in this vulnerable area.