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J Clin Microbiol. 2011 Mar;49(3):1017-24. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02149-10. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Outbreak of infections by hepatitis B virus genotype A and transmission of genetic drug resistance in patients coinfected with HIV-1 in Japan.

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Department of Infection and Immunology, Clinical Research Center, Nagoya Medical Center, 4-1-1 Sannomaru, Nakaku, Nagoya 4600001, Japan.

Erratum in

  • J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Apr;50(4):1507.


The major routes of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in Japan has been mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) and blood transfusion. However, HBV cases transmitted through sexual contact are increasing, especially among HIV-1-seropositive patients. To understand the molecular epidemiology of HBV in HBV/HIV-1 coinfection, we analyzed HBV genotypes and HIV-1 subtypes in HBV/HIV-1-coinfected patients at Nagoya Medical Center from 2003 to 2007. Among 394 HIV-1-infected Japanese men having sex with men (MSM) who were newly diagnosed during the study period, 31 (7.9%) tested positive for the hepatitis B virus surface antigen. HBV sequence analyses were successful in 26 cases, with 21 (80.7%) and 5 (19.3%) cases determined as genotypes A and C, respectively. Our finding that HBV genotype A was dominant in HIV-1-seropositive patients alerts clinicians to an alternative outbreak of HBV genotype A in the HIV-1-infected MSM population and a shift in HBV genotype from C to A in Japan. The narrow genetic diversity in genotype A cases suggests that genotype A has been recently introduced into the MSM population and that sexual contacts among MSM were more active than speculated from HIV-1 tree analyses. In addition, we found a lamivudine resistance mutation in one naïve case, suggesting a risk of drug-resistant HBV transmission. As genotype A infection has a higher risk than infection with other genotypes for individuals to become HBV carriers, prevention programs are urgently needed for the target population.

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