In 2006, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis was the fifth leading cause of death and hepatocellular carcinoma ranked the second leading cause of cancer death in Taiwan.1 Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are 2 major causes of chronic liver disease in Taiwan.2,3 We analysed viral hepatitis data from 2695 subjects who received health checkups at 1 medical centre in Taichung city from 2003 to 2004. There were 1526 men (56.6%) and 1169 women (43.4%). The mean age was 49.2 years (standard deviation, 12.2; range, 20 to 84). The overall prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) was 14.7%, with a statistically significant difference between genders (17.4% for men vs 11.2% for women, P <0.001). The prevalence of HBsAg decreased with age in men, with a statistically significant difference (P <0.001). The prevalence also decreased with age in women, without a statistically significant difference (P = 0.08) (Fig. 1). The overall prevalence of HCV antibody was 5.2%, without a statistically significant difference between genders (4.8% for men vs 5.7% for women, P = 0.272). The prevalence of HCV antibody increased with age in men and in women, with a statistically signifi cant difference (P <0.001 and P <0.001, respectively) (Fig. 2).
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