BACKGROUND: Despite a dramatic reduction in HCV drug costs and simplified models of care, many countries lack important information on prevalence and risk factors to structure effective HCV services.
METHODS: A cross-sectional, multi-stage cluster survey of HCV seroprevalence in adults 18 years and above was conducted, with an oversampling of those 45 years and above. One hundred forty-seven clusters of 25 households were randomly selected in two sets (set 1=24 clusters ≥18; set 2=123 clusters, ≥45). A multi-variable analysis assessed risk factors for sero-positivity among participants ≥45. The study occurred in rural Moung Ruessei Health Operational District, Battambang Province, Western Cambodia.
RESULTS: A total of 5098 individuals and 3616 households participated in the survey. The overall seroprevalence was 2.6% (CI95% 2.3-3.0) for those ≥18 years, 5.1% (CI95% 4.6-5.7) for adults ≥ 45 years, and 0.6% (CI95% 0.3-0.9) for adults 18-44. Viraemic prevalence was 1.9% (CI95% 1.6-2.1), 3.6% (CI95% 3.2-4.0), and 0.5% (CI95% 0.2-0.8), respectively. Men had higher prevalence than women: ≥18 years male seroprevalence was 3.0 (CI95% 2.5-3.5) versus 2.3 (CI95% 1.9-2.7) for women. Knowledge of HCV was poor: 64.7% of all respondents and 57.0% of seropositive participants reported never having heard of HCV. Risk factor characteristics for the population ≥45 years included: advancing age (p< 0.001), low education (higher than secondary school OR 0.7 [95% CI 0.6-0.8]), any dental or gum treatment (OR 1.6 [95% CI 1.3-1.8]), historical routine medical care (medical injection after 1990 OR 0.7 [95% CI 0.6-0.9]; surgery after 1990 OR 0.7 [95% CI0.5-0.9]), and historical blood donation or transfusion (blood donation after 1980 OR 0.4 [95% CI 0.2-0.8]); blood transfusion after 1990 OR 0.7 [95% CI 0.4-1.1]).
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides the first large-scale general adult population prevalence data on HCV infection in Cambodia. The results confirm the link between high prevalence and age ≥45 years, lower socio-economic status and past routine medical interventions (particularly those received before 1990 and 1980). This survey suggests high HCV prevalence in certain populations in Cambodia and can be used to guide national and local HCV policy discussion.