Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Seropositivity Among Children in Kabul, Afghanistan: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Background: Hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C Virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections are significant causes of morbidity and mortality all over the world, especially in underdeveloped countries like Afghanistan. Limited data are available concerning the seroprevalence of HBV, HCV and HIV in the pediatric age group in Afghanistan . Objectives: The aim of the study was to assess HBV, HCV and HIV serology among children at an outpatient clinic in Kabul. Patients and Methods: A total number of 330 children were included to the study from outpatient clinics of Ataturk Kabul ISAF Role II Military Hospital from May to November 2012. Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis C antibody (anti-HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus antibody (anti-HIV) were measured. Results: The mean age of children was 6.5 ± 4.2 years. The frequency of positive results for HBsAg, anti-HBs and anti-HCV in all age groups were 12 (3.6%), 47 (14.2%) and 2 (0.6%), respectively. Anti-HIV was not detected in any of the children's serum samples. The frequency of positive results for HBsAg was significantly higher in children older than six years than in other age groups. Conclusions: Vaccination program including HBV has begun during the last five years in Afghanistan. The continuation of the vaccination program is of great importance. Vaccination program and implementation steps should be revised and the deficiencies, if any, should be overcome without delay.