To define the prevalence and course of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, we examined prospectively a cohort of 2002 adult hospital workers in Kinshasa, Zaire. From 1984 to 1986 the prevalence of HIV infection increased from 6.4 percent to 8.7 percent. Over the two years there was a cumulative incidence of new HIV infection of 3.2 percent. The prevalence was higher among women (16.9 percent) and men (9.3 percent) under the age of 30 than among women (9.0 percent) and men (6.2 percent) over 30. Prevalence rates were similar among physicians (5.6 percent), laboratory workers (2.9 percent), and clerical workers (7.9 percent), but they were higher among female nurses (11.4 percent) and manual workers (11.8 percent). Despite marked differences in the intensity of nosocomial exposure, female nurses had similar infection rates on the female internal medicine ward (9.9 percent), in pediatrics (10.8 percent), and in the delivery room (10.7 percent). The attributable risk of HIV infection from a transfusion was 5.9 percent. Neither medical injections nor scarification was a risk factor for HIV infection. Of the 101 seropositive asymptomatic employees in the 1984 survey, 16 percent had AIDS-related complex, 3 percent had AIDS, and 12 percent had died of AIDS by 1986. Previous studies have revealed a seroprevalence of 8.4 percent among women attending an antenatal clinic near the hospital in 1984 and 1986, and of 5.8 percent (in 1984) and 6.5 percent (in 1986) among men donating blood at the hospital's blood bank. We conclude that there is a continuing high prevalence of HIV infection among hospital workers in Kinshasa, Zaire, which appears to be representative of that in the community and not nosocomial. (N Engl J Med 1988; 319:1123–7).
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