HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C in garbage scavengers of Karachi

J Pak Med Assoc. 2013 Jun;63(6):798-802.


Objectives: To determine the seroprevalence of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B and C, and to study the associated risk factors in garbage scavengers of Karachi.

Methods: The cross-sectional study was performed in a colony inhabited by low socioeconomic garbage-collecting people. Data was collected from April to December 2011. After informed consent and pre-test counselling, a set of questions were asked from a questionnaire, and 5cc of blood was drawn for pathological testing. SPSS 18 was used for statistical analysis.

Results: A total of 141 males agreed to participate in the study with a mean age of 21.33+/-9.28 years. Most of the respondents (n=67; 47.5%) were in the age group 11-20 years; 86 (61%) were single; 89 (63%) were illiterate and 127 (90%) had a monthly income less than Rs.10,000. Prevalence of hepatitis B was 18.8% (n=22), followed by 8.5% (n=10) and 0.85% (n=1) of hepatitis C and HIV respectively. Besides, 108 (77%) collected needles/syringes and 76 (54%) got pricked more than once. Only 23 (16%) wore gloves while collecting garbage. Overall, 79 (56%) had a history of sexual contact; 18 (23%) had three or more partners.

Conclusion: The important factors contributing to the high prevalence of hepatitis B and C were needle prick injuries, bare-handed/bare-footed collection of garbage, poor vaccination status, improper garbage disposal system and the site of waste collection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Garbage*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult