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There is progressive concern about the evolving burden of morbidity and mortality caused by coinfection with HIV-1 and hepatitis B virus (HBV) in sub-Saharan Africa, but the epidemiology and impact of this problem are not well defined. We therefore set out to assimilate more information about the nature of HBV/HIV coinfection in this region by undertaking a retrospective observational study of southern African adult women. We used samples from previously recruited HIV-1 positive women attending antenatal clinics in three settings in South Africa and Botswana (n = 950) and added a small cohort of HIV-negative antenatal South African women for comparison (n = 72). We tested for HBsAg and followed up HBsAg-positive samples by testing for HBeAg, HBV DNA, HBV genotype, presence of drug-resistance associated mutations (RAMs) and HDV. We identified HBsAg in 72 individuals (7% of the whole cohort), of whom 27% were HBeAg-positive, and the majority HBV genotypes A1 and A2. We did not detect any HDV coinfection. HBV prevalence was significantly different between geographically distinct cohorts, but did not differ according to HIV status. Among adults from South Africa, HBV/HIV coinfected patients had lower CD4+ T cell counts compared to those with HIV-monoinfection (p = 0.02), but this finding was not replicated in the cohort from Botswana. Overall, these data provide a snapshot of the coinfection problem at the heart of the HIV/HBV co-epidemic, and are important to inform public health policy, resource allocation, education, surveillance and clinical care.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0134037

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

2015

Volume

10

Keywords

Adult, Botswana, Coinfection, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, HIV Infections, HIV-1, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis B virus, Humans, Prevalence, Retrospective Studies, South Africa, Viral Load