oa South African Family Practice - Seroprevalence of HIV and frequencies of haemoglobin genotypes, ABO and Rh blood groups, among premarital couples in Port Harcourt, Nigeria : original research
Background: Premarital screening is fast gaining ground as a prerequisite for the solemnisation of holy matrimony by many faith-based organisations in Nigeria, yet there is scanty literature on the subject.
Methods: Fifty (50) premarital heterosexual couples (50 males and 50 females) were screened for the presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), haemoglobin genotypes, and ABO and Rh blood groups using standard laboratory procedures.
Results: The prevalence of HIV in this study was found to be 2.0%. The frequencies of the haemoglobin genotypes were as follows: HbAA (72%), HbAS (26%) and HbAC (2.0%), while that of ABO and Rh blood groups were: group A (22%), B (14%), AB (0%), 0 (64%), Rh 'D' positive (96%) and Rh 'D' negative (4.0%). The distribution of these variables between the sexes was statistically significant (c2 = 21.630, p < 0.01). The frequencies of the haemoglobin genotype combinations of the intending couples were as follows: HbAA/AA (52%), AA/AS (36%), AA/AC (4.0%) and AS/AS (8.0%). This distribution pattern was also found to be highly statistically significant (c2 = 38.957, p < 0.0001). The mean age of the participants was 35.48 ± 12.26 years for men and 26.32 ± 7.31 years for women (t = 10.538, p < 0.05).
Conclusion: This study observed a low prevalence of HIV among the premarital couples and a relatively high frequency of HbAS/AS couples. The ABO and Rh blood groups were found to be stable and consistent with previous reports. For the prevention of hereditary blood diseases, haemolytic disease of the newborn and transmission of HIV to offspring, premarital testing should be encouraged.
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