Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Outcomes for Occult Hepatitis B Virus Infection Among HIV-Infected Patients


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Abstract

Background:Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) is defined by the presence of HBV DNA in individuals with HBV core antibodies (anti-HBc) but without HBV surface antigen (HBsAg). The prevalence of occult HBV in HIV-infected patients remains controversial, and the risk factors and clinical significance are unknown.Objectives:To determine the prevalence, risk factors, and clinical significance of occult HBV among HIV-infected patients. Hypothesized risk factors include chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), CD4 count <200 cells/mm3, HIV RNA level >1000 copies/mL, and lack of use of anti-HBV antiretrovirals.Methods:We examined randomly selected HBsAg/anti-HBc+ HIV-infected patients in the Penn Center for AIDS Research Adult/Adolescent Database and Specimen Repository. HBV DNA was qualitatively detected using a transcription-mediated amplification assay. Risk factors and transaminases were ascertained at the time sera were collected.Results:A total of 699 HBsAg/anti-HBc+ HIV-infected patients were identified. Of 179 randomly selected subjects, 17 (10%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 5% to 14%) had occult HBV. Differences in the prevalence of HBV surface antibody (anti-HBs) between those with (7 [41%]) and without (94 [58%]) occult HBV were not statistically significant (P = 0.3). An HIV RNA level >1000 copies/mL (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 4.88, 95% CI: 1.01 to 30.26) and the absence of chronic HCV (adjusted OR = 0.26, 95% CI: 0.05 to 0.95) were associated with occult HBV. Occult HBV did not increase the risk of transaminitis (adjusted OR = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.12 to 1.45).Conclusions:Occult HBV occurred in a sizable proportion of HIV-infected patients and was associated with detectable HIV and the absence of chronic HCV. It did not increase the risk of transaminitis. The presence of anti-HBs does not rule out occult HBV. Future studies should examine the long-term clinical implications of occult HBV in HIV-infected patients.

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