Exposure source prevalence is associated with gender in hepatitis C virus patients from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

<div><p> BACKGROUND Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a worldwide public health problem. A characterisation of the differences in exposure sources among genders will enable improvements in surveillance actions. METHODS Exposure data were obtained for 1180 confirmed HCV cases Brazil’s mandatory reporting to epidemiological surveillance, which was directed by a reference laboratory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Chi-square test (χ2) was used to assess the associations between exposure sources and gender. The prevalence ratio (PR) was calculated for exposures that showed an association. RESULTS The results showed 57.7% cases were female, and associations with snorting drugs, sexual activity, surgery, aesthetic procedures, blood transfusions, and educational level were observed (p < 0.001). Men showed 2.53 (1.33-3.57), 4.83 (3.54-6.59), and 2.18 (1.33-3.57) times more exposure to sniffing drugs, risky sex and higher levels of education, respectively, than women. Women demonstrated 4.46 (3.21-6.21), 1.94 (1.43-2.63), and 3.10 (2.09-4.61) times more exposure to surgery, aesthetic procedures, and blood transfusions, respectively, than men. CONCLUSION Our results showed differences in risk behaviours associated with gender among HCV carriers. These data are likely to significantly influence clinical practice regarding the adoption of specific approaches for counselling and control policies to prevent the emergence of new cases and break the chain of transmission of the virus.</p></div>