Hepatitis A seroprevalence in homosexual and heterosexual men

Genitourin Med. 1994 Oct;70(5):325-8. doi: 10.1136/sti.70.5.325.


Objective: To determine the seroprevalence of hepatitis A antibodies in homosexual and heterosexual males attending a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.

Design: Prospective study of male patients recruited from a GUM clinic during a 10 week period in 1993.

Setting: Central London outpatient GUM department at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Subjects: 255 patients were recruited, comprising 185 homosexual and 70 heterosexual males. Ninety two men were known to be HIV-positive, of whom 89 were homosexual.

Main outcome measures: Serum samples were screened for both IgM and IgG antibodies to hepatitis A by enzyme linked immunoassay. Results were matched to an anonymously completed questionnaire.

Results: 81 of the 255 subjects (31.8%) had been exposed to hepatitis A, two of whom were IgM positive. There were similar hepatitis A seroprevalence rates in homosexual (32.4%) and heterosexual men (30.0%). Although 48.1% of the homosexual men were known to be HIV-positive, compared with 4.3% of the heterosexuals. Hepatitis A seroprevalence remained comparable in both groups after patients with known HIV infection were excluded from the analysis. 11.4% of the heterosexual men admitted to oral-anal sexual contact compared with 62.2% of the homosexual men. This sexual practice was not associated with antibodies or a past history of hepatitis A exposure.

Conclusions: There was no detectable difference in hepatitis A seroprevalence between male homosexual and heterosexual GUM clinic attenders, despite a much higher level of oral-anal sexual activity among the homosexual population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • HIV Seropositivity
  • Hepatitis A / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis A / immunology
  • Hepatitis A Antibodies
  • Hepatitis Antibodies / analysis
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • London / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sexual Behavior


  • Hepatitis A Antibodies
  • Hepatitis Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M