Hepatitis C (HCV) is estimated to have infected about 3% of the world population and it is a major cause of chronic liver diseases worldwide. In sub-Saharan Africa the prevalence of HCV is estimated to be between 0-14%. The available treatment for HCV is expensive and has limited efficacy in chronic infection. Current therapies are impractical for the majority of HCV infected people and have not been widely implemented in sub-Saharan Africa. There is currently no vaccine available for HCV.
Hepatitis C virus strains have been shown to be diverse within Sub-Saharan Africa and the distribution of virus genotypes is very different from those in high-income countries. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) co-infections are endemic in this region, and are known to modify the course of the infection and treatment strategies in people living with HCV infection. We are conducting studies to assess the prevalence of these infections, their risk factors and clinical management in sub-Saharan Africa.