Background: South Asians often present late with HCV or HBV related liver disease which could have been avoided with early diagnosis and subsequent treatment; however the prevalence of HCV/HBV among South Asians in Glasgow is not known. Accordingly, to inform the need for case finding among this group we aimed to examine the prevalence of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) among South Asians living in Glasgow.
Methods: A community-based survey recruited individuals at six mosques and four community centres serving the South Asian community during 2009-2010; participants had predominantly never been HCV tested. Laboratory surveillance data involving all individuals tested for HCV during 1993-2009 were examined and South Asians were identified using Nam Pehchan software.
Results: In the community-based survey, 2.6% of 1288 participants tested HCV-antibody positive; the prevalence ranged from 0.6% among those born in the UK to 3.1% among those born in Pakistan. The odds of testing HCV-antibody positive were significantly raised among those who had surgery in South Asia (aOR: 5.0, 95% CI: 2.0-12.3) and had either medical/dental treatment or an injection in South Asia (aOR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.0-5.0). Of 6404 South Asians identified from laboratory surveillance data, 9.3% tested HCV positive. An estimated 38% (330/870) of HCV-infected South Asians living in Glasgow remain undiagnosed.
Conclusions: South Asians living in Glasgow, particularly those born outside the UK are at greater risk of HCV infection than the general population. Efforts to increase awareness and testing in this population are warranted.
Keywords: Case-finding; Hepatitis C; Migrants; Prevalence; South Asia.
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