The epidemiology of hepatitis C virus in Afghanistan: Systematic review and meta-analysis

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To characterize hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemiology and inform public health research, policy, and programming priorities in Afghanistan. Methods: Records of HCV incidence and prevalence were reviewed systematically and synthesized following PRISMA guidelines. Meta-analyses were implemented using a DerSimonian-Laird random effects model with inverse variance weighting to estimate HCV prevalence among various at risk populations. A risk of bias assessment was incorporated. Results: The search identified one HCV incidence and 76 HCV prevalence measures. HCV incidence was only assessed among people who inject drugs (PWID), and was reported at 66.7 per 100 person-years. Meta-analyses estimated HCV prevalence at 0.7% among the general population (range 0-9.1%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5-0.9%), 32.6% among PWID (range 9.5-70.0%, 95% CI 24.5-41.3%), and 2.3% among populations at intermediate risk (range 0.0-8.3%, 95% CI 1.3-3.7%). No data were available for other high risk populations such as hemodialysis, thalassemia, and hemophilia patients. Conclusions: HCV prevalence among the general population in Afghanistan is comparable to global levels. Data are needed for the level of infection among key clinical populations at high risk of infection. There is also an immediate need for expansion of harm reduction programs among PWID and prisoners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-63
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015



  • Afghanistan
  • Epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Middle East
  • Prevalence
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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