Hepatitis B virus in HIV-infected patients in north-eastern South Africa: Prevalence, exposure, protection and response to HAART
Study design. This was a laboratory-based, unmatched study. Three hundred and eighty patients were screened by ELISA for HBsAg, anti-HBc and anti-HBs. Samples non-reactive for HBsAg but reactive for anti-HBc were examined for occult HBV infection. Response to HAART was assessed by measuring HBV viral loads, seroconversion from HBeAg to anti-HBe, and levels of aminotransferase.
Results. Of the study population of 380, 60% (95% CI 54.8 - 64.9) were exposed to HBV based on HBsAg, anti-HBs or anti-HBc; 20% (95% CI 16.1 - 24.4) had active HBV infection, based on HBsAg serology, and 30% (95% CI 25.2 - 35.2) were protected, based on anti-HBs levels ≥10 IU/l. Of 181 HBsAg-negative individuals, 61 had HBV occult infection (33.7%, 95% CI 26.9 - 41.1). The differences in prevalence were not statistically significant when gender, marital status and CD4+ cell counts were considered. Of 21 patients analysed, 80% showed adequate response to the first-line HAART regimen (stavudine/lamivudine/efavirenz or nevirapine) after 12 months of use.
Conclusion. The study confirms the higher level (60%) of exposure to HBV in HIV patients in Limpopo Province, as well as the high (20%) prevalence of HBsAg positivity and occult hepatitis B (33.7%). However, further studies are warranted to corroborate the benefit of lamivudine-containing HAART regimens, as HIV/HBV co-infected patients have a higher liver-related mortality if hepatitis B is not treated.
Julius Ayuk, Department of Occupational Medicine, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch
Jeffrey Mphahlele, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Research Unit, Department of Virology, University of Limpopo, Medunsa Campus/National Health Laboratory Service, Pretoria
Pascal Bessong, AIDS Virus Research Laboratory, Department of Microbiology, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province
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Date published: 2013-03-27
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