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BMC Infect Dis. 2014 Apr 4;14:180. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-14-180.

The impact of HBV or HCV infection in a cohort of HIV-infected pregnant women receiving a nevirapine-based antiretroviral regimen in Malawi.

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Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.



Coinfection with the hepatitis viruses is common in the HIV population in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of this study was to assess, in a cohort of HIV-infected pregnant women receiving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), the prevalence of HBV and HCV infections and to determine the impact of these infections on the occurrence of liver toxicity and on the viro-immunological response.


Women were screened for HBsAg and HCV-RNA before starting, at week 25 of gestational age, an antiretroviral regimen consisting of lamivudine and nevirapine plus either stavudine or zidovudine. Women with CD4+ < 350/mm3 continued ARVs indefinitely, while the other women interrupted treatment 6 months postpartum (end of breastfeeding period). Both groups were followed for 2 years after delivery. Liver function was monitored by alanine aminotransferase (ALT) measurement. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to identify factors associated with the emergence of liver toxicity.


A total of 28 women out of the 309 enrolled in the study (9.1%) were coinfected with HBV (n. 27), or HCV (n. 1). During follow-up 125 women (40.4%) developed a grade ≥ 1 ALT elevation, 28 (9.1%) a grade ≥ 2 and 6 (1.9%) an elevation defining grade 3 toxicity. In a multivariate model including age, baseline CD4+ count and hemoglobin level, the presence of either HBV or HCV infection was significantly associated with the development of an ALT increase of any grade (P = 0.035). Moderate or severe liver laboratory toxicity (grade ≥ 2) was more frequent among women with baseline CD4+ > 250/mm3 (P = 0.030). In HBV-infected women a baseline HBV-DNA level above 10,000 IU/ml was significantly associated to the development of liver toxicity of grade ≥ 1 (P = 0.040). Coinfections had no impact on the immunological and virological response to antiretroviral drugs up to 2 years after delivery.


In this cohort of nevirapine-treated women the presence of HBV or HCV was associated only to the development of mild liver toxicity, while the occurrence of moderate or severe hepatoxicity was correlated to a baseline CD4+ count > 250/mm3. No statistically significant effect of the coinfections was observed on the efficacy of antiretroviral therapy.

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