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Aims: The study was conducted to determine the prevalence of hepatitis B infection among female commercial sex workers in Lyantonde town.
Study Design: A cross sectional study was conducted.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out in Lyantonde town, Lyantonde district, central Uganda, from November 2019 to January 2020.
Methodology: Included were 207 consented commercial sex workers operating in Lyantonde town at the time of the study. A structured questionnaire was administered to collect information on bio-data, knowledge on hepatitis B infection and practices. Blood samples were then collected and transported to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital Laboratory for analysis.
Results: Hepatitis B prevalence of 12.6% was established among the commercial sex workers. 207 participants with a mean age of 26±3.801 were studied. 28.0% were married, 30.4% cohabiting, 12.1% single and 29.5% divorced. 15.0% had no formal education, 28.5% had primary level education and 56.5% had secondary level education. 60.4% lived on less than one dollar a day.
All the participants had ever heard of hepatitis B infection. 95.6% had awareness of its sexual transmission, 44.9% knew it spreads through sharing sharps, 4.8% had awareness of mother to child transmission during child birth and 38.6% thought the disease is unpreventable.
Thirty-five-point seven percent (35.7%) had ever tested for the disease but none vaccinated. All the participants reported irregular condom use during sex and non-confessed to intravenous or illicit drug use. 61.8% expressed desire to giving birth at home and not a hospital.
Conclusion: Hepatitis B infection at 12.6% is highly prevalent among female commercial sex workers in Lyantonde town majority of whom are unaware of their status and do not consistently practice safe sex e.g. condom use. A targeted testing and vaccination program including prevention awareness campaigns could go a long way in keeping this marginalized population safe.
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