Sero-Prevalence of Syphilis among Patients with Mental Illness: Comparison with Blood Donors


BACKGROUND: Mentally ill individuals (MII) are at risk of acquiring syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections. This study aimed at determining sero-prevalence of syphilis among MII and compare them with voluntary blood donors (VBD) at University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Nigeria. METHODS: A cross-sectional study done between June, 2010 and June 2011, and involving 350 each of VBDs and MII in and out-patients of UITH. Serological test was done using venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) and the Treponema Pallidum Haemagglutination (TPHA) kit. RESULTS: Of the 700 subjects, 324 (92.6%) MII, and 349 (99.7%) VBDswere <55 years; 71 (21.4%) MII were Civil Servants compared with 96 (27.4%) VBDs. Significantly more VBDs had higher education than MII (185 or 52.9%, and 140 or 40% respectively). Christians constituted the majority (176 or 50.3%) among MII, and Muslims (210 or 60%) among VBDs. Significantly more married VBDs (204/206 or 99.0%) live with spouses; more VBDs consumed alcohol (37 or 10.6%), smoked (19 or 5.4%), and engaged in extramarital sex (105 or 30.0%). Significantly more MII had blood transfusion (40 or 11.4); engaged in sex trade (12 or 3.4%); and more syphilis prevalence (5.4%). In addition, more syphilitic MII smoked(18 or 94.7%); and all syphilitic MII had psychotic disorders. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of syphilis in MII is significantly higher than among VBDs. Routine screening of MII is advocated to stem this problem.WAJM 2013; 32(2):210–215.



Seroprevalence, syphilis, mental illness, blood donors, Nigeria.


Olawumi, H.O., Issa, B.A. Fadeyi, A., Durotoye, I.A., Yussuf, A.D., Salami, A.K., Shittu, A.O., Ajiboye, P.O., Adegunloye, O.A., Nwabuisi, C. & Sulyman, D.