Viral hepatitis in female sex workers using the Respondent-Driven Sampling

Marcos André de Matos Divânia Dias da Silva França Megmar Aparecida dos Santos Carneiro Regina Maria Bringel Martins Lígia Regina Franco Sansigolo Kerr Karlla Antonieta Amorim Caetano Raquel Silva Pinheiro Lyriane Apolinário de Araújo Rosa Maria Salani Mota Marcia Alves Dias de Matos Ana Rita Coimbra Motta-Castro Sheila Araújo Teles About the authors



To estimate the prevalence of hepatitis B virus and C virus infections and their genotypes and analyze the risk factors for the markers of exposure to hepatitis B virus in female sex workers in a region of intense sex trade.


This is a cross-sectional study performed with four hundred and two female sex workers in Goiânia, Brazil. Data have been collected using the Respondent-Driven Sampling. The women have been interviewed and tested for markers of hepatitis B and C viruses. Positive samples have been genotyped. The data have been analyzed using the Respondent-Driven Sampling Analysis Tool, version 5.3, and Stata 11.0.


The adjusted prevalence for hepatitis B virus and C virus were 17.1% (95%CI 11.6–23.4) and 0.7% (95%CI 0.1–1.5), respectively. Only 28% (95%CI 21.1–36.4) of the participants had serological evidence of vaccination against hepatitis B virus. Being older (> 40 years), being single, having a history of blood transfusion and use of cocaine, and ignoring the symptoms of sexually transmitted infections were associated with positivity for hepatitis B virus (p < 0.05). We have detected the subgenotype A1 of hepatitis B virus (n = 3) and the subtypes of hepatitis C virus 1a (n = 3) and 1b (n = 1).


We can observe a low prevalence of infection of hepatitis B and C viruses in the studied population. However, the findings of the analysis of the risk factors show the need for more investment in prevention programs for sexual and drug-related behavior, as well as more efforts to vaccinate this population against hepatitis B. The genotypes of the hepatitis B virus and C virus identified are consistent with those circulating in Brazil.

Sex Workers; Hepatitis B, epidemiology; Hepatitis C, epidemiology; Seroepidemiologic Studies

Faculdade de Saúde Pública da Universidade de São Paulo Avenida Dr. Arnaldo, 715, 01246-904 São Paulo SP Brazil, Tel./Fax: +55 11 3061-7985 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil