Prevalence of markers for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C infection in UK military recruits.
Brown AE., Ross DA., Simpson AJH., Erskine RS., Murphy G., Parry JV., Gill ON.
An unlinked anonymous survey was conducted to measure the prevalence of selected markers for HIV, hepatitis B and C infection in recruits to the UK Armed Forces to inform future screening and hepatitis B vaccination policies. During 2007, nearly 14 000 left-over samples taken from new recruits for blood typing were collected, unlinked from identifiers and anonymously tested for HIV, hepatitis C and current and past cleared hepatitis B infection. Overall, serological evidence of HIV and hepatitis C was found in 0·06% and 0·06% of recruits, respectively. Evidence of past cleared and current hepatitis B infection was found in 3·63% and 0·37% of recruits, respectively. Overall, prevalence rates were broadly consistent with UK population estimates of infection. However, HIV and hepatitis B prevalence was higher in recruits of African origin than in those from the UK (P<0·0001). Screening for these infections is an option that could be considered for those entering Services from high-prevalence countries.