Kapembwa KC, Goldman JD, Lakhi S, Banda Y, Bowa K, Vermund SH, Mulenga J, Chama D, Chi BH
Epidemiologic data of HIV and viral hepatitis coinfection are needed in sub-Saharan Africa to guide health policy for hepatitis screening and optimized antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Materials and Methods:
We screened 323 HIV-infected, ART-eligible adults for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis C antibody (HCV Ab) at a tertiary hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. We collected basic demographic, medical, and laboratory data to determine predictors for coinfection.
Of 323 enrolled patients, 32 (9.9%; 95% CI=6.7–13.2%) were HBsAg positive, while 4 (1.2%; 95% CI=0.03–2.4%) were HCV Ab positive. Patients with hepatitis B coinfection were more likely to be <40 years (84.4% vs. 61.4%; P=0.01) when compared to those who were not coinfected. Patients with active hepatitis B were more likely to have mild to moderately elevated AST/ALT (40–199 IU/L, 15.8% vs. 5.4%; P=0.003). Highly elevated liver enzymes (>200 IU/L) was uncommon and did not differ between the two groups (3.4% vs. 2.3%; P=0.5). We were unable to determine predictors of hepatitis C infection due to the low prevalence of disease.
HIV and hepatitis B coinfection was common among patients initiating ART at this tertiary care facility. Routine screening for hepatitis B should be considered for HIV-infected persons in southern Africa.