The prevalence of hepatitis B and C in HIV-positive Greek patients: relationship to survival of deceased AIDS patients

A Dimitrakopoulos, A Takou, A Haida, S Molangeli, A Gialeraki, T Kordossis
Journal of Infection 2000, 40 (2): 127-31

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of hepatitis viruses B (HBV) and C (HCV) co-infections in HIV-infected patients and the overall impact of these co-infections on deceased AIDS patients survival.

METHODS: One hundred and eighty-one patients (159 males, 22 females) infected with HIV, attending an academic AIDS unit in Athens, Greece, constituted the study population. The study population consisted of 124 homo/bisexual men, 34 heterosexuals, 12 intravenous drug users (IDU) and 11 blood transfusion recipients. Virological markers tested for HBV infection included HBsAg, anti-HBs and total anti-HBc by enzyme-linked immunoassays. Detection of HCV antibodies was carried out by third generation enzyme-linked immunoassay, and repeatedly positive samples were further tested by a supplemental enzyme-linked immunoassay; only sera reactive by both methods were considered to be HCV-positive.

RESULTS: The prevalence of HBV markers was 67.4%: 71.8% in homo/bisexuals, 35.3% in heterosexuals, 91.7% in IDUs and 90.9% in blood transfusion recipients (P = 0.00004). The prevalence of HCV antibodies was 13.8%: 8.1% in homo/bisexuals, 8.8% in heterosexuals, 58.3% in IDU and 45.5% in blood transfusion recipients (P<0.000001). The prevalence of HCV antibodies was not significantly higher in homo/bisexuals than in heterosexuals (P= 0.8). Coinfection with HBV or HCV, or both, did not influence the survival of deceased AIDS patients (n = 73).

CONCLUSIONS: HBV infection was equally prevalent among homo/bisexuals and IDU with HIV infection, whereas HCV infection was more prevalent in IDU than in homo/bisexuals with HIV infection. The prevalence of HCV infection was equal among heterosexuals and homo/bisexuals, indicating that if sexual transmission of HCV occurs, homo/bisexuals are not at greater risk than heterosexuals. Finally, the survival of deceased AIDS patients was not affected by the presence of HBV and HCV co-infections.

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