Management of the Coinfected Patient: Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Hepatitis B and Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Hepatitis C

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Deaths from liver disease have increased in persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) because of coinfection with chronic hepatitis B and C; consequently, all HIV-infected patients should be screened for hepatitis B and C, and all those susceptible should be vaccinated for hepatitis B. Hepatitis A vaccination is indicated for susceptible coinfected patients. It is also important to stress other means of preventing the transmission of hepatitis, such as safe sex and avoidance of blood exposures. Three oral agents, lamivudine, adefovir, and tenofovir, are active against hepatitis B infection. The need for highly active antiretroviral therapy and hepatitis B therapy should be addressed in a coordinated fashion, since two of these agents are active against both HIV and hepatitis B virus. Oral combination therapy for hepatitis B infection looks promising but needs further study. Combination therapy for chronic hepatitis C with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin is the most effective available therapy and the current standard of care. Prior to therapy, patients should be evaluated for contraindications to therapy. During treatment, they should be closely monitored for adverse events.

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