BACKGROUND - Illegal commercial plasma donation in the late 1980s and early 1990s caused blood-borne infections in China.
OBJECTIVES - To estimate the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections and to identify associated risk factors in central China with a history of illegal plasma collection activities.
DESIGN AND METHODS - A cross-sectional study was carried out in 2004, in which all adult residents in four villages in rural Shanxi Province were invited for a questionnaire interview and testing of HIV and HCV antibodies.
RESULTS - Of 3062 participating villagers, 29.5% reported a history of selling whole blood or plasma. HIV seropositivity was confirmed in 1.3% of subjects and 12.7% were HCV positive. Their co-infection rates were 1.1% among all study subjects, 85% among HIV-positive subjects, and 8.7% among HCV-positive subjects. Selling plasma [odds ratio (OR), 22.5; 95% confidence interval (CI), 16.1-31.7; P < 0.001] or blood (OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 2.3-4.2; P < 0.001) were independently associated with HIV and/or HCV infections. Although a spouse's history of selling plasma/blood was not associated with either infection, the HIV or HCV seropositivity of a spouse was significantly associated with HIV and/or HCV infections (both OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 2.0-5.2 in men, 2.0-4.9 in women; P < 0.001). For men, residence in the village with a prior illegal plasma collection center (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.7-3.7; P < 0.001) and for women, older age (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.2-14.0; P = 0.04) were associated with HIV and/or HCV infections.
CONCLUSIONS - HIV and HCV infections are now prevalent in these Chinese communities. HIV projects should consider screening and care for HCV co-infection.