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AIDS. 2006 Jun 12;20(9):1253-60.

Impact of occult hepatitis B virus infection in HIV patients naive for antiretroviral therapy.

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  • 1Department of Public Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Second University of Naples, c/o Ospedale Gesù e Maria, Via D. Cotugno 1, 80135 Naples, Italy.



To study the impact of occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in 115 consecutive anti-HIV-positive, hepatitis B surface antigen-negative patients, naive for antiretroviral treatment.


Of these 115, 86 patients were followed for at least 6 months (range 6-36) with serial determinations of HIV RNA and HBV DNA by polymerase chain reaction and other laboratory tests.


Of the 86 patients having a follow-up, plasma HBV DNA was detected in 17 (19.8%), 13 on admission and four during follow-up. HBV DNA was more frequently found in patients with isolated anti-hepatitis B core (HBc; 35.5% of 31 cases) than in those lacking anti-HBc and anti-hepatitis B surface (8.8% of 41, P < 0.005), or showing both (21.4% of 14). Twenty-eight patients (32.5%) experienced a hepatic flare during the follow-up; this event was more frequent in the 17 HBV-DNA-positive patients than in the 69 negative (64.7% versus 24.6%, P < 0.005). Of the 13 HBV-DNA-positive patients on admission, 11 receiving HAART containing lamivudine became HBV-DNA negative, but two of these again became positive and experienced a hepatic flare during treatment and two both during and after lamivudine treatment. A hepatic flare also occurred under lamivudine treatment in two of the four patients in whom HBV DNA became detectable during follow-up. The role of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome and HAART in inducing a hepatic flare was found to be marginal in 49 patients with no HBV or hepatitis C virus marker.


The study suggests that HBV occult infection, relatively frequent in anti-HIV-positive patients, is associated with hepatic flares.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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