Human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B virus seroprevalence in an urban trauma population

J Trauma. 1995 May;38(5):736-41. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199505000-00010.


Objective: To determine the seroprevalence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the hepatitis B virus (HBV) in patients of an urban level I trauma center.

Design: Prospective, blinded point prevalence study of serum HIV and HBV antibody and antigen.

Setting: An urban level I trauma center that participates in a trauma system serving three million people.

Patients: The study included 994 (94.8%) of 1049 consecutive trauma service patients treated between June 6, 1988 and September 22, 1988. The patients were 82.2% male and 73.1% black, with a mean age of 28.8 +/- 12.3 years. Blunt trauma was seen in 65.4% of patients, 5.2% were in shock, and 96.2% survived their trauma.

Main outcome measures: HIV and HBV seroprevalence, using both antibody and antigen testing.

Results: HIV infection was seen in 43 patients (4.3%); 41 (95.3%) were HIV Ab+ and two (4.7%) were HIV Ab-/HIV Ag+. Infection with the HBsAg was seen in 31 patients (3.1%). Infection with either virus was seen in 70 patients (7%); four patients (0.4%) were infectious for both viruses. Infection was related to age 20 to 49 years, i.v. drug use, a hepatitis or sexually transmitted disease history, prior HIV testing, shock, and death (p < 0.05). Penetrating trauma was not predictive of infection. In a logistic regression model, IV drug use was the single significant predictor of infection (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Young urban trauma patients, because of drug-related intentional violence, are 15.3 to 17.6 times more likely to be HIV infected and 3.9 to 7.9 times more likely to be infectious for HIV or HBV than the trauma population overall. The 12 to 21% infection rates in critically injured patients who require shock resuscitation and/or die reinforces the need for mandated universal precautions and for clear policies which govern the performance of procedures by physicians in training. Primary HIV infection in critically injured patients may worsen their outcome and may adversely affect the exposed health care worker. Emergency departments and trauma units should develop a referral system to HIV primary care services (HIV counselling and testing) for high risk patients and for adversely exposed health care workers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis
  • Adult
  • Chicago / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis B / complications
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / analysis
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Trauma Centers
  • Urban Health
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / virology*


  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens