Peebles K, Nchimba L, Chilengi R, Bolton Moore C, Mubiana-Mbewe M, Vinikoor MJ.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is endemic in Africa, where it may occur as an HIV coinfection. Data remain limited on HIV-HBV epidemiology in Africa, particularly in children. Using programmatic data from pediatric HIV clinics in Lusaka, Zambia during 2011-2014, we analyzed the prevalence of chronic HBV coinfection (defined as a single positive hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg] test) and its impact on immune recovery and liver enzyme elevation (LEE) during the first year of antiretroviral therapy. Among 411 children and adolescents, 10.4% (95% confidence interval, 7.6-14.1) had HIV-HBV. Coinfected patients were more likely to have World Health Organization stage 3/4, LEE and CD4 <14% at care entry (all p < 0.05). During treatment, CD4 increases and LEE incidence were similar by HBsAg status. HBsAg positivity decreased (11.8% vs. 6.6%; p = 0.24) following HBV vaccine introduction. These findings support screening pediatric HIV patients in Africa for HBV coinfection. Dedicated cohorts are needed to assess long-term outcomes of coinfection.