Hepatitis B incidence and prevention with antiretroviral therapy among HIV-positive individuals in Uganda

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Abstract

Objective:

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) may interfere with replication of hepatitis B virus (HBV), raising the hypothesis that HBV infection might be prevented by ART. We investigated the incidence and risk factors associated with HBV among HIV-infected adults in Rakai, Uganda.

Methods:

We screened stored sera from 944 HIV-infected adults enrolled in the Rakai Community Cohort Study between September 2003 and March 2015 for evidence of HBV exposure. Serum from participants who tested anti-hepatitis B core-negative (497) at baseline were tested over 3–7 consecutive survey rounds for incident HBV. Poisson incidence methods were used to estimate incidence of HBV with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), whereas Cox proportional regression methods were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs).

Results:

Thirty-nine HBV infections occurred over 3342 person-years, incidence 1.17/100 person-years. HBV incidence was significantly lower with ART use: 0.49/100 person-years with ART and 2.3/100 person-years without ART [adjusted HR (aHR) 0.25, 95% CI 0.1–0.5, P < 0.001], and with lamivudine (3TC) use: 0.58/100 person-years) with 3TC and 2.25/100 person-years without 3TC (aHR 0.32, 95% CI 0.1–0.7, P =  < 0.007). No new HBV infections occurred among those on tenofovir-based ART. HBV incidence also decreased with HIV RNA suppression: 0.6/100 person-years with 400 copies/ml or less and 4.0/100 person-years with more than 400 copies/ml (aHR, 6.4, 95% CI 2.2–19.0, P < 0.001); and with age: 15–29 years versus 40–50 years (aHR 3.2, 95% CI 1.2–9.0); 30–39 years versus 40–50 years (aHR 2.1, 95% CI 0.9–5.3).

Conclusion:

HBV continues to be acquired in adulthood among HIV-positive Ugandans and HBV incidence is dramatically reduced with HBV-active ART. In addition to widespread vaccination, initiation of ART may prevent HBV acquisition among HIV-positive adults in sub-Saharan Africa.

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