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1.  Hepatitis B virus sero-profiles and genotypes in HIV-1 infected and uninfected injection and Non-injection drug users from coastal Kenya 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2015;15:299.
Information about HBV sero-markers, infection stages and genotypes in HIV-1 infected and uninfected injection and non-injection drug users (IDUs) in Kenya remains elusive.
A cross-sectional study examining HBV sero-marker, infection stages and genotypes was conducted among HIV-1 infected and uninfected, respectively, IDUs (n = 157 and n = 214) and non-IDUs (n = 139 and n = 48), and HIV-1 uninfected non-drug using controls (n = 194) from coastal, Kenya. HBV sero-marker and infection stages were based on HBV 5-panel rapid test plasma sero-reactivity. DNA was extracted from acute and chronic plasma samples and genotypes established by nested-PCR and direct sequencing.
HBsAg positivity was higher in HIV-1 infected IDUs (9.6 %) relative to HIV-1 uninfected IDUs (2.3 %), HIV-1 infected non-IDUs (3.6 %), HIV-1 uninfected non-IDUs (0.0 %) and non-drug users (2.6 %; P = 0.002). Contrastingly, HBsAb positivity was higher in HIV-1 uninfected IDUs (14.6 %) and non-IDUs (16.8) in comparison to HIV-1 infected IDUs (8.3 %), and non-IDUs (8.6 %), and non-drug users (8.2 %; P = 0.023). HBcAb positivity was higher in HIV-1 infected IDUs (10.2 %) compared to HIV-1 uninfected IDUs (3.3 %), HIV-1 infected non-IDUs (6.5 %), HIV-1 uninfected non-IDUs (2.1 %) and non-drug users (4.6 %; P = 0.038). Acute (5.7 %, 1.4 %, 0.0 %, 0.0 % and 1.5 %) and chronic (5.1 %, 0.9 %, 3.6 %, 0.0 % and 1.5 %) stages were higher in HIV-1 infected IDUs, compared to HIV-1 uninfected IDUs, HIV-1 infected and uninfected non-IDUs and non-drug users, respectively. However, vaccine type response stage was higher in HIV-1 uninfected IDUs (15.4 %) relative to HIV-1 infected IDUs (6.4 %), and HIV-1 infected (6.5 %), and uninfected (10.4 %) non-IDUs, and non-drug users (5.7 %; P = 0.003). Higher resolved infection rates were also recorded in HIV-1 uninfected IDUs (11.2 %) compared to HIV-1 infected IDUs (8.3 %), and HIV-1 infected (7.2 %), uninfected (6.3 %) non-IDUs, and non-drug users (6.7 %; P = 0.479), respectively. Only A1 genotype showing minimal diversity was detected among the study participants.
HBV sero-markers and infection staging are valuable in diagnosis and genotyping of HBV infections. Among IDUs, higher HBsAg and HBcAb positivity in HIV-1 infected and higher HBsAb positivity in HIV-1 negative IDUs suggests frequent exposure. Additionally, HBV genotype A is the dominant circulating genotype in both high and low risk populations of Kenya.
PMCID: PMC4520198
Hepatitis B virus; HBV sero-markers; Sero-positivity; Genotypes; HIV-1; Injection drug users; Non-injection drug users; Coastal Kenya
2.  Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections (HIV, Hepatitis B, Herpes Simplex Type 2 and Syphilis) Among Asymptomatic Pregnant Women 
To determine the current prevalence of four major sexually transmitted infections (STIs: HIV, Hepatitis B, Herpes simplex virus 2, and Syphilis) in asymptomatic pregnant women.
This is a prospective study of 500 consecutive, apparently healthy asymptomatic pregnant women who were attending the antenatal clinic. The information regarding their socio-demographic and behavioral characteristics and obstetric performance was recorded. The blood samples was collected after obtaining their informed written consent from those who were tested for the HIV antibodies (NACO guidelines), HBsAg (ELISA test), HSV2-IgM (ELISA test), and Syphilis (VDRL and TPHA tests).
The overall prevalence of one or the other four STIs studied was 4.8 % with the highest prevalence of HBV (2.4 %), followed by HSV-2 (2 %), and HIV (0.4 %). No woman tested positive for syphilis and multiple infections. All the infections were more common in illiterate, multigravida, monogamous women of low socio-economic status. High-risk sexual behavior of the husbands, history of STIs in husbands, and blood transfusions were the other factors associated with the prevalence of these infections.
The relatively high prevalence of HBV and HSV-2 infections in asymptomatic pregnant women suggests that there is need of screening for HBV and HSV-2 infections along with the pre-existing screening for HIV and Syphilis and universal immunization of HBV high-risk infants.
PMCID: PMC3425675  PMID: 23542821
Asymptomatic pregnant women; HSV-2; HBV; HIV; Syphilis
3.  Risks for HIV, HBV, and HCV infections among male injection drug users in northern Vietnam: A case-control study 
AIDS care  2009;21(1):7-16.
Injection drug use (IDU) and HIV infection are important public health problems in Vietnam. The IDU population increased 70% from 2000 to 2004 and is disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS--the country’s second leading cause of death. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) share transmission routes with HIV and cause serious medical consequences. This study aimed to determine risk factors for acquisition of HIV, HBV, and HCV infections among IDUs in a northern province. We conducted a matched case-control study among active IDUs aged 18–45 who participated in a community-based survey (30-minute interview and serologic testing). Each HIV-infected IDU (case) was matched with one HIV-uninfected IDU (control) by age, sex (males only), and study site (128 pairs). Similar procedures were used for HBV infection (50 pairs) and HCV infection (65 pairs). Conditional logistic regression models were fit to identify risk factors for each infection. Among 309 surveyed IDUs, the HIV, HBV, and HCV prevalence was 42.4%, 80.9%, and 74.1%, respectively. Only 11.0% reported having been vaccinated against hepatitis B. While 13.3% of the IDUs reported sharing needles (past 6 months), 63.8% engaged in indirect sharing practices (past 6 months), including sharing drug solutions, containers, rinse water, and frontloading drugs. In multivariable models, sharing drugs through frontloading was significantly associated with HIV infection (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8), HBV infection (OR = 3.8), and HCV infection (OR = 4.6). We report an unrecognized association between sharing drugs through frontloading and higher rates of HIV, HBV and HCV infections among male IDUs in Vietnam. This finding may have important implications for bloodborne viral prevention for IDUs in Vietnam.
PMCID: PMC2869448  PMID: 19085215
HIV; hepatitis B virus; hepatitis C virus; Vietnam; substance abuse
4.  Molecular Epidemiology of Hepatitis D Virus Infection among Injecting Drug Users with and without Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection in Taiwan▿† 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(3):1083-1089.
An outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection occurred among injecting drug users (IDU) in Taiwan between 2003 and 2006, when an extremely high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was also detected. To determine whether clusters of hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection occurred in this outbreak, 4 groups of subjects were studied: group 1, HIV-infected IDU (n = 904); group 2, HIV-infected non-IDU (n = 880); group 3, HIV-uninfected IDU (n = 211); and group 4, HIV-uninfected non-IDU (n = 1,928). The seroprevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) was 19.8%, 18.4%, 17.1%, and 6.7%, and HDV seroprevalence among HBV carriers was 75.4%, 9.3%, 66.7%, and 2.3%, for groups 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Ninety-nine of 151 (65.6%) HDV-seropositive IDU had HDV viremia: 5 were infected with HDV genotype I, 41 with genotype II, 51 with genotype IV, and 2 with genotypes II and IV. In the phylogenetic analysis, only one cluster of 4 strains within the HDV genotype II was identified. Among patients with HCV viremia, a unique cluster within genotype 1a was observed; yet, patients within this cluster did not overlap with those observed in the HDV phylogenetic analysis. In summary, although IDU had a significantly higher HDV seroprevalence, molecular epidemiologic investigations did not support that HDV was introduced at the same time as HCV among IDU.
PMCID: PMC3067682  PMID: 21191061
5.  The epidemiology of hepatitis B virus infection in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected pregnant women in the Western Cape, South Africa☆ 
Vaccine  2013;31(47):5579-5584.
•HIV-infected pregnant women have evidence of HBV escape compared to uninfected women.•One in six HBV-infected pregnant women is HBeAg seropositive, regardless of HIV status.•These data support the call to implement a birth dose of HBV vaccine.
Persistent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. The HIV epidemic has the potential to affect its biology. Immunisation protocols established in the pre-HIV era are based upon data showing predominantly horizontal infant transmission. This study aimed to determine whether HIV co-infection will change the epidemiology of HBV both by increasing infectivity and by favouring the escape of viruses bearing phenotypically altered HBsAg.
This retrospective cross-sectional study used antenatal samples from the 2008 Antenatal Sentinel HIV and Syphilis Prevalence Survey in the Western Cape, South Africa. All HIV-infected women were age and race-matched to HIV-uninfected women. Samples were tested for serological markers of HBV and HDV infection. HBV viral load, consensus sequencing and genotyping were performed. Luminex technology was used to determine HBsAg phenotype. All samples from HIV-infected women were tested for traces of antiretroviral drugs by mass spectrometry.
This study showed a trend toward loss of immune control of HBV in HIV-infected women with 3.4% of samples containing HBsAg, 18.9% contained HBeAg. In contrast, 2.9% of samples from HIV-uninfected women contained HBsAg and 17.1% of these HBeAg. The median HBV load in the HIV-infected group was 9.72 × 107 IU/ml and in the HIV-uninfected group 1.19 × 106 IU/ml. Genotyping showed 63/68 samples belonged to genotype A and the remainder genotype D. Mutations in the precore region were found in 35% and 33% of samples from HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected respectively. Although no major epitope ablation was found, marked variation in HBsAg profiles in HIV-infected group was demonstrated. No HDV infection was detected.
HIV-HBV co-infected women exhibit a degree of immune escape. One in six HBV-infected pregnant women, irrespective of HIV status is HBeAg seropositive. HBV immunization of newborns in sub-Saharan Africa should be implemented.
PMCID: PMC3898695  PMID: 23973500
HBV; HIV; Antenatal; Virus escape; Sub-Saharan Africa
6.  Bacterial Vaginosis Associated with Increased Risk of Female-to-Male HIV-1 Transmission: A Prospective Cohort Analysis among African Couples 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001251.
In a prospective study, Craig Cohen and colleagues investigate the association between bacterial vaginosis and the risk of female-to-male HIV-1 transmission.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV), a disruption of the normal vaginal flora, has been associated with a 60% increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition in women and higher concentration of HIV-1 RNA in the genital tract of HIV-1–infected women. However, whether BV, which is present in up to half of African HIV-1–infected women, is associated with an increase in HIV-1 transmission to male partners has not been assessed in previous studies.
Methods and Findings
We assessed the association between BV on female-to-male HIV-1 transmission risk in a prospective study of 2,236 HIV-1–seropositive women and their HIV-1 uninfected male partners from seven African countries from a randomized placebo-controlled trial that enrolled heterosexual African adults who were seropositive for both HIV-1 and herpes simplex virus (HSV)-2, and their HIV-1–seronegative partners. Participants were followed for up to 24 months; every three months, vaginal swabs were obtained from female partners for Gram stain and male partners were tested for HIV-1. BV and normal vaginal flora were defined as a Nugent score of 7–10 and 0–3, respectively. To reduce misclassification, HIV-1 sequence analysis of viruses from seroconverters and their partners was performed to determine linkage of HIV-1 transmissions. Overall, 50 incident HIV-1 infections occurred in men in which the HIV-1–infected female partner had an evaluable vaginal Gram stain. HIV-1 incidence in men whose HIV-1–infected female partners had BV was 2.91 versus 0.76 per 100 person-years in men whose female partners had normal vaginal flora (hazard ratio 3.62, 95% CI 1.74–7.52). After controlling for sociodemographic factors, sexual behavior, male circumcision, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and plasma HIV-1 RNA levels in female partners, BV was associated with a greater than 3-fold increased risk of female-to-male HIV-1 transmission (adjusted hazard ratio 3.17, 95% CI 1.37–7.33).
This study identified an association between BV and increased risk of HIV-1 transmission to male partners. Several limitations may affect the generalizability of our results including: all participants underwent couples HIV counseling and testing and enrolled in an HIV-1 prevention trial, and index participants had a baseline CD4 count ≥250 cells/mm3 and were HSV-2 seropositive. Given the high prevalence of BV and the association of BV with increased risk of both female HIV-1 acquisition and transmission found in our study, if this association proves to be causal, BV could be responsible for a substantial proportion of new HIV-1 infections in Africa. Normalization of vaginal flora in HIV-1–infected women could mitigate female-to-male HIV-1 transmission.
Trial Registration: NCT00194519
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Since the first reported case of AIDS in 1981, the number of people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has risen steadily. By the end of 2010, 34 million people were living with HIV/AIDS. At the beginning of the epidemic more men than women were infected with HIV. Now, however, 50% of all adults infected with HIV are women and in sub-Saharan Africa, where two-thirds of HIV-positive people live, women account for 59% of people living with HIV. Moreover, among 15–24 year-olds, women are eight times more likely than men to be HIV-positive. This pattern of infection has developed because most people in sub-Saharan Africa contract HIV through unprotected heterosexual sex. The risk of HIV transmission for both men and women in Africa and elsewhere can be reduced by abstaining from sex, by only having one or a few partners, by always using condoms, and by male circumcision. In addition, several studies suggest that antiretroviral therapy (ART) greatly reduces HIV transmission.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unfortunately, in sub-Saharan Africa, only about a fifth of HIV-positive people are currently receiving ART, which means that there is an urgent need to find other effective ways to reduce HIV transmission in this region. In this prospective cohort study (a type of study that follows a group of people for some time to see which personal characteristics are associated with disease development), the researchers investigate whether bacterial vaginosis—a condition in which harmful bacteria disrupt the normal vaginal flora—increases the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission among African couples. Bacterial vaginosis, which is extremely common in sub-Saharan Africa, has been associated with an increased risk of HIV acquisition in women and induces viral replication and shedding in the vagina in HIV-positive women, which may mean that HIV-positive women with bacterial vaginosis are more likely to transmit HIV to their male partners than women without this condition. If this is the case, then interventions that reduce the incidence of bacterial vaginosis might be valuable HIV prevention strategies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed data collected from 2,236 heterosexual African couples enrolled in a clinical trial (the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study) whose primary aim was to investigate whether suppression of herpes simplex virus infection could prevent HIV transmission. In all the couples, the woman was HIV-positive and the man was initially HIV-negative. The female partners were examined every three months for the presence of bacterial vaginosis and the male partners were tested regularly for HIV infection. The researchers also determined whether the men who became HIV-positive were infected with the same HIV strain as their partner to check that their infection had been acquired from this partner. The HIV incidence in men whose partners had bacterial vaginosis was 2.9 per 100 person-years (that is, 2.9 out of every 100 men became HIV-positive per year) whereas the HIV incidence in men whose partners had a normal vaginal flora was 0.76 per 100 person-years. After controlling for factors that might affect the risk of HIV transmission such as male circumcision and viral levels in female partner's blood, the researchers estimated that bacterial vaginosis was associated with a 3.17-fold increased risk of female-to-male HIV transmission in their study population.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that HIV-positive African women with bacterial vaginosis are more than three times as likely to transmit HIV to their male partners as those with a normal vaginal flora. It is possible that some unknown characteristic of the men in this study might have increased both their own risk of HIV infection and their partner's risk of bacterial vaginosis. Nevertheless, because bacterial vaginosis is so common in Africa (half of the women in this study had bacterial vaginosis at least once during follow-up) and because this condition is associated with both female HIV acquisition and transmission, these findings suggest that bacterial vaginosis could be responsible for a substantial proportion of new HIV infections in Africa. Normalization of vaginal flora in HIV-infected women by frequent presumptive treatment with antimicrobials (treatment with a curative dose of antibiotics without testing for bacterial vaginosis) or possibly by treatment with probiotics (live “good” bacteria) might, therefore, reduce female-to-male HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases on all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS and on bacterial vaginosis
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including specific information about HIV/AIDS and women; it also has information on bacterial vaginosis (in English and Spanish)
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and information on bacterial vaginosis and HIV transmission (in several languages)
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS nonprofit group on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on HIV and AIDS prevention, on women, HIV and AIDS and on HIV/AIDS in Africa (in English and Spanish); personal stories of women living with HIV are available; the website Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about living with HIV
More information about the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission Study is available
PMCID: PMC3383741  PMID: 22745608
7.  A hepatitis A, B, C and HIV prevalence and risk factor study in ever injecting and non-injecting drug users in Luxembourg associated with HAV and HBV immunisations 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:351.
In Luxembourg, viral hepatitis and HIV infection data in problem drug users (PDUs) are primarily based on self-reporting. Our study aimed to determine the prevalence of HAV, HBV, HCV and HIV infections in ever injecting (IDUs) and non-injecting drug users (nIDUs) including inherent risk factors analysis for IDUs. Secondary objectives were immunisation against HAV and HBV, referral to care and treatment facilities as well as reduction in risk behaviour.
A nationwide, cross-sectional multi-site survey, involving 5 in-, 8 out-treatment and 2 prison centres, included both an assisted questionnaire (n = 368) and serological detection of HIV and Hepatitis A, B, C (n = 334). A response rate of 31% resulted in the participation of 310 IDUs and 58 nIDUs.
Risk factors such as drug use, sexual behaviour, imprisonment, protection and health knowledge (HAV, HBV status and immunisations, HCV, HIV), piercing/tattoo and use of social and medical services were studied by means of chi2 and logistic models.
Seroprevalence results for IDUs were 81.3% (218/268, 95%CI=[76.6; 86.0]) for HCV, 29.1% (74/254, 95%CI=[25.5;34.7 ]) for HBV (acute/chronic infection or past cured infection), 2.5% (5/202, 95%CI=[0.3; 4.6]) for HIV-1 and 57.1% (108/189, 95%CI=[50.0; 64.1]) for HAV (cured infections or past vaccinations). Seroprevalence results for nIDUs were 19.1% (9/47, 95%CI=[7.9;30.3]) for HCV, 8.9% (4/45, 95%CI=[0.6;17.2]) for HBV (acute/chronic infection or past cured infection), 4.8% (2/42, 95%CI=[-1.7;11.3]) for HIV-1 and 65.9% (27/41, 95%CI=[51.4;80.4]) for HAV. Prisoners showed the highest rates for all infections. Age, imprisonment and setting of recruitment were statistically associated with HCV seropositivity. Age, speedball career and nationality were significantly associated with HBV seropositivity. Only 56% of the participants in outpatient centres collected their serology results and 43 doses of vaccine against HAV and/or HBV were administered.
Despite the existing national risk-reduction strategies implemented since 1993, high prevalence of HCV and HBV infections in injecting drug users is observed. Our study showed that implementing risk-prevention strategies, including immunisation remains difficult with PDUs. Improvement should be looked for by the provision of field healthcare structures providing tests with immediate results, advice, immunisation or treatment if appropriate.
PMCID: PMC3123592  PMID: 21595969
8.  Injecting and sexual risk correlates of HBV and HCV seroprevalence among new drug injectors 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2007;89(2-3):234-243.
We examine injecting and sexual risk correlates of hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) seroprevalence among new injecting drug users (IDUs) (age 18–30 years, injecting ≤6 years). Participants were interviewed/serotested (HIVab, HBVcAb, HCVab) in New York City, 2/1999–2/2003. Gender-stratified, multivariate logistic regression was conducted. Participants (N=259) were: 68% male; 81% white. Women were more likely to test HCV seropositive (42% vs. 27%) and men HBV seropositive (24% vs. 12%); HIV seroprevalence was low (3%). Among both men and women, HBV seropositivity was associated with ever selling sex, and HCV seropositivity with ever having had infected (HIV, HBV or HCV) sex partners (among those ever sharing injecting equipment). Among women only, HBV seropositivity was associated with ever having had infected sex partners (regardless of ever sharing injecting equipment), and HCV seropositivity with ≥300 lifetime drug injections. Among men only, HCV seropositivity was associated with ≥40 lifetime number of sex partners (among those never sharing injecting equipment). In this new IDU sample, HBV and HCV seroprevalence differed by gender and were considerably higher than HIV seroprevalence. Early interventions, targeting injecting and sexual risks and including HBV vaccination, are needed among new IDUs to prevent HBV, HCV and, potentially, HIV epidemics.
PMCID: PMC1947004  PMID: 17289298
HIV; HBV; HCV; drug injectors; injecting risk; sexual risk
9.  Factors Associated with Prevalent Hepatitis C Infection Among HIV-Infected Women with No Reported History of Injection Drug Use: The Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2009;23(11):915-923.
Although the primary mode of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission is exposure to blood products or injection drug use (IDU), studies have found varying independent risk factors for HCV infection among persons with no history of IDU or exposure to blood products. For HIV-infected women, sexual transmission may be another potential source of HCV infection. HIV-infected and HIV-negative women at risk for HIV enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) during October 1994 to November 1995 and again between October 2001 and November 2002 were studied. Clinical and demographic factors associated with HCV seroprevalence were assessed in multivariate logistic regression models controlling for history of blood transfusion and IDU. Among 3636 women with HCV results, 31.5% were HCV antibody positive (HCV+) including 13.5% with no reported history of IDU or blood transfusions. Multivariate logistic regression analyses stratified on IDU showed that among women with no history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV positivity (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8, 95% confidence [CI] = 2.1, 3.8, p < 0.0001) after controlling for blood transfusion, age, HIV infection, unemployment, birth in the United States, history of hepatitis B infection, and current smoking status. Further stratification on HIV status showed that the association was significant only for the HIV+ (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3, 2.7, p = 0.0007) compared to the HIV− women (OR = 1.1, 95% CI = 0.4, 2.7) although these odds ratios were not significantly different ( p = 0.25). For HIV-positive women with no reported history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV suggesting that sexual transmission may be an important mode of HCV transmission for these high-risk women.
PMCID: PMC2823487  PMID: 19877800
10.  The epidemiology of sexually transmitted co-infections in HIV-positive and HIV-negative African-Caribbean women in Toronto 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:550.
HIV disproportionately affects African-Caribbean women in Canada but the frequency and distribution of sexually transmitted infections in this community have not been previously studied.
We recruited women based on HIV status through a Toronto community health centre. Participants completed a socio-behavioural questionnaire using Audio Computer Assisted Self-Interview (ACASI) and provided blood for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B and C, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), and human cytomegalovirus (CMV) serology, urine for chlamydia and gonorrhea molecular testing and vaginal secretions for bacterial vaginosis (BV) and human papillomavirus (HPV). Differences in prevalence were assessed for statistical significance using chi-square.
We recruited 126 HIV-positive and 291 HIV-negative women, with a median age of 40 and 31 years, respectively (p < 0.001). Active HBV infection and lifetime exposure to HBV infection were more common in HIV-positive women (4.8% vs. 0.34%, p = 0.004; and 47.6% vs. 21.2%, p < 0.0001), as was a self-reported history of HBV vaccination (66.1% vs. 44.0%, p = 0.0001). Classical STIs were rare in both groups; BV prevalence was low and did not vary by HIV status. HSV-2 infection was markedly more frequent in HIV-positive (86.3%) than HIV-negative (46.6%) women (p < 0.0001). Vaginal HPV infection was also more common in HIV-positive than in HIV-negative women (50.8% vs. 22.6%, p < 0.0001) as was infection with high-risk oncogenic HPV types (48.4% vs. 17.3%, p < 0.0001).
Classical STIs were infrequent in this clinic-based population of African-Caribbean women in Toronto. However, HSV-2 prevalence was higher than that reported in previous studies in the general Canadian population and was strongly associated with HIV infection, as was infection with hepatitis B and HPV.
PMCID: PMC3835625  PMID: 24238493
Sexually transmitted infections; HIV; Epidemiology; African-Caribbean women; Toronto
11.  Factors Associated with Prevalent Hepatitis C Infection Among HIV-Infected Women with No Reported History of Injection Drug Use: The Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(11):915-923.
Although the primary mode of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission is exposure to blood products or injection drug use (IDU), studies have found varying independent risk factors for HCV infection among persons with no history of IDU or exposure to blood products. For HIV-infected women, sexual transmission may be another potential source of HCV infection. HIV-infected and HIV-negative women at risk for HIV enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) during October 1994 to November 1995 and again between October 2001 and November 2002 were studied. Clinical and demographic factors associated with HCV seroprevalence were assessed in multivariate logistic regression models controlling for history of blood transfusion and IDU. Among 3636 women with HCV results, 31.5% were HCV antibody positive (HCV+) including 13.5% with no reported history of IDU or blood transfusions. Multivariate logistic regression analyses stratified on IDU showed that among women with no history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV positivity (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8, 95% confidence [CI] = 2.1, 3.8, p < 0.0001) after controlling for blood transfusion, age, HIV infection, unemployment, birth in the United States, history of hepatitis B infection, and current smoking status. Further stratification on HIV status showed that the association was significant only for the HIV+ (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3, 2.7, p = 0.0007) compared to the HIV− women (OR = 1.1, 95% CI = 0.4, 2.7) although these odds ratios were not significantly different (p = 0.25). For HIV-positive women with no reported history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV suggesting that sexual transmission may be an important mode of HCV transmission for these high-risk women.
PMCID: PMC2823487  PMID: 19877800
12.  Study on the blood-borne virus co-infection and T lymphocyte subset among intravenous drug users 
AIM: To investigate the features of various blood-borne virus infections and co-infection in intravenous drug users (IDUs), and to examine the correlation of T lymphocyte subsets with virus co-infection.
METHODS: Four hundred and six IDUs without any clinical manifestation of hepatitis and 102 healthy persons were enrolled in this study. HBV-DNA and HCV-RNA were detected by fluorescence quantitative PCR. HBsAg, HBeAg, anti-HBc, anti-HCV, HDV-Ag, anti-HGV, anti-HIV, and HCMV-IgM were assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunochromatographic tests. The levels of Th1 and Th2 cytokines were measured by ELISA and radioactive immune assay (RIA). The T lymphocyte subpopulation was detected by using fluorescence immunoassay. The similar indices taken from the healthy persons served as controls.
RESULTS: The viral infection rate among IDUs was 36.45% for HBV, 69.7% for HCV, 47.3% for HIV, 2.22% for HDV, 1.97% for HGV, and 3.45% for HCMV. The co-infection rate of blood-borne virus was detected in 255 of 406 (62.81%) IDUs. More than 80% (161/192) of subjects infected with HIV were co-infected with the other viruses, such as HBV, HCV. In contrast, among the controls, the infection rate was 17.65% for HBV and 0% for the other viruses. Our investigation showed that there was a profound decrease in the proportion of CD4/CD8 and the percentage of CD3 and CD4, but not in the percentage of CD8. The levels of PHA-induced cytokines (IFN-γ and IL-4) and serum IL-2 were obviously decreased in IDUs. On the other hand, the level of serum IL-4 was increased. The level of IFN-γ and the percentage of CD4 were continuously decreased when the IDUs were infected with HIV or HIV co-infection. IDUs with HIV and HBV co-infection was 15.1% (29/192). Of those 29 IDU with HIV and HBV co-infection, 51.72% (15/29) and 37.93% (11/29) were HBV-DNA-positive and HBeAg-positive, respectively. But, among IDUs without HIV infection, only 1.68% (2/119) of cases were HBV-DNA-positive.
CONCLUSION: HCV, HBV and HIV infections are common in this population of IDU, leading to a high incidence of impaired Th1 cytokine levels and CD4 lymphocyte. IDUs with HIV and HBV/HCV co-infection have lower expression of Th1 cytokine with enhancement of the Th2 response. HIV may be causing HBV replication by decreasing Th1 function.
PMCID: PMC4147148  PMID: 17511038
Intravenous drug users; T lymphocyte subpopulation; Blood-borne virus; Co-infection; Cytokine
13.  Risk factors for hepatitis B virus infection in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 
BMC Public Health  2002;2:26.
Despite international efforts to prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection through global vaccination programs, new cases are still being reported throughout the world.
To supply data that might assist in improving preventive measures and national surveillance for HBV infection, a cross-sectional study was conducted among individuals referred to the Brazilian National Reference Center for Viral Hepatitis (Rio de Janeiro) during a two-year period. Reported risk factors among infected subjects ("HBV-positive") were compared to those of subjects never exposed ("HBV-negative") to HBV. Two subgroups were further identified within the HBV-positive group, "acute" infection and "non-acute" infection.
A total of 1,539 subjects were tested for HBV, of which 616 were HBV-positive (79 acute infection and 537 non-acute infection). HBV-positive subjects were more likely to be of male gender (63% versus 47%); and to report multiple sexual partners (12% versus 6%) and illicit drug use (IDU and/or intranasal cocaine use) (6% versus 3%). Among the HBV-positive subgroups, age differed significantly, with 48% being under 30 years of age in subjects acutely infected compared to 17% in those with non-acute infection.
The association of multiple sexual partners with past HBV infection and the age distribution of currently infected subjects suggest that sexual transmission played a major role in the transmission of HBV in this study population. Thus, vaccination during adolescence should be considered.
PMCID: PMC140010  PMID: 12445329
14.  Prevalence, Clinical and Virologic Outcomes of Hepatitis B Virus Co-Infection in HIV-1 Positive Kenyan Women on Antiretroviral Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59346.
Sub-Saharan Africa carries a high burden of co-infection with HIV-1 and hepatitis B virus (HBV). In this region, individuals with HIV-1/HBV co-infection on antiretroviral therapy (ART) frequently receive lamivudine as the only agent active against HBV, raising concerns for development of HBV resistance to lamivudine. We aimed to determine the prevalence, clinical, and virologic outcomes of chronic HBV infection, including HBV resistance to lamivudine, in a cohort of HIV-1 seropositive Kenyan women on long-term ART.
In this prospective cohort study, HIV-1 seropositive women initiated three-drug ART regimens that included lamivudine as the single drug active against HBV. Archived samples were tested for HBsAg, with further testing to determine HBeAg seroprevalence, HBV DNA suppression, and lamivudine resistance. We estimated the prevalence of chronic HBV and examined associations between HBV co-infection and clinical and virologic outcomes with chi-square tests, logistic regression, Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression.
In a cohort of 159 women followed for a median of 3.4 years (interquartile range 1.4–4.5), 11 (6.9%; 95% CI 3.1–10.7) had chronic HBV infection. Of these, 9 (82%) achieved undetectable plasma HBV DNA levels. One woman developed lamivudine resistance, for an incidence of 3 per 100 person-years. The HBV co-infected women were at greater risk for abnormal ALT elevations compared to HIV-1 mono-infected women (HR 2.37; 95% CI 1.1–5.3). There were no differences between HBV-infected and uninfected women in mortality, CD4 count, or HIV-1 RNA suppression.
The prevalence of chronic HBV in this cohort was similar to recent studies from other African populations. Given our long-term follow-up, lamivudine resistance was lower than expected for HIV-1/HBV co-infected patients. Improved screening for HBV and extended follow-up of HIV-1/HBV co-infected individuals are needed to better understand the impact of different ART regimens on clinical outcomes in this population.
PMCID: PMC3601052  PMID: 23527168
15.  Co-infection of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis C and hepatitis B virus among injection drug users in Drop in centers 
Hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are the three prevalent viral and bloodborne infections worldwide. Considering the similar route of transmission in these infections, their co-infections would be more challenging for health care professionals. Therefore, we investigated the rate of HIV/HBV/HCV co-infection among injection drug users (IDUs) referred to Drop in centers (DICs).
Materials and Methods:
In this cross-sectional study (2008-2009), IDUs referred to DICs in Isfahan province were evaluated. Venous blood samples were obtained and HBsAg, HBcAb, HCVAb, and HIVAb measured by using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay method. Demographic data and risk factors in patients with HBV/HCV, HIV/HCV, and HIV/HBV co-infections were obtained by a trained social worker using a structured checklist. Data were analyzed using Chi-square test, t-test, and multiple logistic regressions.
Totally, 539 IDUs with mean (standard deviation [SD]) age of 35.3 (7.9) were studied. HBV/HCV, HCV/HIV, and HBV/HIV co-infections were presented in 65 (12.1%), 6 (1.1%), and 0 (0%) of IDUs, respectively. All HIV infected IDUs were infected with HCV as well. There was a significant association between HBV/HCV co-infection and behaviors related to sharing needle (odds ratio [OR] = 2.06, 95% confidence interval [CI]; 1.23-3.45) and imprisonment (OR = 1.01, 95% CI; 1.04-1.06).
According to the results of this study, history of imprisonment and needle sharing were the only adjusted risk factors for HCV/HBV co-infection in IDUs. This might be a warning for national health system and needs to urgent paying attention. It seems that expanded harm reduction strategies can be useful to reduce this co-infection and its mortality and morbidity rate among IDUs.
PMCID: PMC4078381  PMID: 25002888
Co-infection; Drop in center; hepatitis B virus; hepatitis C virus; human immunodeficiency virus
16.  Seroprevalence of HIV, hepatitis b, and hepatitis c among opioid drug users on methadone treatment in the netherlands 
Injecting drug users (IDU) remain an important population at risk for blood-borne infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). In the Netherlands, a program is being implemented to offer annual voluntary screening for these infections to opioid drug users (ODUs) screened in methadone care. At two care sites where the program is now operating, our study aimed to estimate the seroprevalence among ODUs screened for HIV, HBV and HCV; to evaluate HBV vaccination coverage; and to assess the feasibility of monitoring seroprevalence trends by using routine annual screening data.
Opioid drug users on methadone treatment are routinely offered voluntary screening for infectious diseases such as HIV, HBV and HCV. Data on uptake and outcome of anti-HIV, anti-HBc, and anti-HCV screening among ODUs receiving methadone were obtained from two regions: Amsterdam from 2004 to 2008 and Heerlen from 2003 to 2009.
Annual screening uptake for HIV, HBV and HCV varied from 34 to 69%, depending on disease and screening site. Of users screened, 2.5% were HIV-positive in Amsterdam and 11% in Heerlen; 26% were HCV-positive in Amsterdam and 61% in Heerlen. Of those screened for HBV, evidence of current or previous infection (anti-HBc) was found among 33% in Amsterdam and 48% in Heerlen. In Amsterdam, 92% were fully vaccinated for HBV versus 45% in Heerlen.
Annual screening for infectious diseases in all ODUs in methadone care is not fully implemented in the Netherlands. On average, more than half of the ODUs in methadone care in Heerlen and Amsterdam were screened for HIV, HBV and HCV. In addition, screening data indicate that HBV vaccination uptake was rather high. While the HIV prevalence among these ODUs was relatively low compared to other drug-using populations, the high HCV prevalence among this group underscores the need to expand annual screening and interventions to monitor HIV, HBV and HCV in the opioid drug-using population.
PMCID: PMC2988003  PMID: 20977742
17.  Hepatitis C virus infection and biological false-positive syphilis tests 
The diagnosis of syphilis requires two-step serological testing. Not infrequently, sensitive screening tests are reactive but are not confirmed by more specific confirmatory tests yielding a biological false positive (BFP). This study sought to describe the prevalence of BFP in a large population of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected and uninfected women.
A cross-sectional serosurvey of HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative women enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study, a multicentre collaborative study of the natural history of HIV in women.
Among HCV-infected women 4% had a BFP compared with 1% among those who were HCV uninfected (odds ratio (OR) 3.3, 95% CI 2.1 to 5.1). Controlling for both HIV infection and a history of intravenous drug use among all tests for syphilis a BFP also occurred more commonly in HCV-infected women compared with HCV-uninfected women (6% vs 1%, OR 7.62, 95% CI 1.9 to 12.5).
HCV infection is associated with various effects on immune function including alterations in serological test results. Women with HCV are more likely to have a BFP syphilis test than women without HCV.
PMCID: PMC2981071  PMID: 20332367
18.  Seroprevalence of HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis infections among blood donors at Gondar University Teaching Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia: declining trends over a period of five years 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:111.
Transfusion-transmissible infectious agents such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and syphilis are among the greatest threats to blood safety for the recipient. This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence, risk factors and trends of HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis infections among blood donors over a period of five years at Gondar University Teaching Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia.
A retrospective analysis of consecutive blood donors' records covering the period between January 2003 and December 2007 was conducted. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine risk factors associated with HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis infections.
From the total of 6361 consecutive blood donors, 607 (9.5%) had serological evidence of infection with at least one pathogen and 50 (0.8%) had multiple infections. The overall seroprevalence of HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis was 3.8%, 4.7%, 0.7%, and 1.3% respectively. Among those with multiple infections, the most common combinations were HIV - syphilis 19 (38%) and HIV - HBV 17 (34%). The seropositivity of HIV was significantly increased among female blood donors, first time donors, housewives, merchants, soldiers, drivers and construction workers. Significantly increased HBV seropositivity was observed among farmers, first time donors and age groups of 26 - 35 and 36 - 45 years. Similarly, the seroprevalence of syphilis was significantly increased among daily labourers and construction workers. Statistically significant association was observed between syphilis and HIV infections, and HCV and HIV infections. Moreover, significantly declining trends of HIV, HCV and syphilis seropositivity were observed over the study period.
A substantial percentage of the blood donors harbour HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis infections. Strict selection of blood donors and comprehensive screening of donors' blood using standard methods are highly recommended to ensure the safety of blood for recipient.
PMCID: PMC2881920  PMID: 20459703
19.  Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Expanding Harm Reduction and Antiretroviral Therapy in a Mixed HIV Epidemic: A Modeling Analysis for Ukraine 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1000423.
A cost-effectiveness study by Sabina Alistar and colleagues evaluates the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of different levels of investment in methadone, ART, or both, in the mixed HIV epidemic in Ukraine.
Injection drug use (IDU) and heterosexual virus transmission both contribute to the growing mixed HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In Ukraine—chosen in this study as a representative country—IDU-related risk behaviors cause half of new infections, but few injection drug users (IDUs) receive methadone substitution therapy. Only 10% of eligible individuals receive antiretroviral therapy (ART). The appropriate resource allocation between these programs has not been studied. We estimated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of strategies for expanding methadone substitution therapy programs and ART in mixed HIV epidemics, using Ukraine as a case study.
Methods and Findings
We developed a dynamic compartmental model of the HIV epidemic in a population of non-IDUs, IDUs using opiates, and IDUs on methadone substitution therapy, stratified by HIV status, and populated it with data from the Ukraine. We considered interventions expanding methadone substitution therapy, increasing access to ART, or both. We measured health care costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), HIV prevalence, infections averted, and incremental cost-effectiveness. Without incremental interventions, HIV prevalence reached 67.2% (IDUs) and 0.88% (non-IDUs) after 20 years. Offering methadone substitution therapy to 25% of IDUs reduced prevalence most effectively (to 53.1% IDUs, 0.80% non-IDUs), and was most cost-effective, averting 4,700 infections and adding 76,000 QALYs compared with no intervention at US$530/QALY gained. Expanding both ART (80% coverage of those eligible for ART according to WHO criteria) and methadone substitution therapy (25% coverage) was the next most cost-effective strategy, adding 105,000 QALYs at US$1,120/QALY gained versus the methadone substitution therapy-only strategy and averting 8,300 infections versus no intervention. Expanding only ART (80% coverage) added 38,000 QALYs at US$2,240/QALY gained versus the methadone substitution therapy-only strategy, and averted 4,080 infections versus no intervention. Offering ART to 80% of non-IDUs eligible for treatment by WHO criteria, but only 10% of IDUs, averted only 1,800 infections versus no intervention and was not cost effective.
Methadone substitution therapy is a highly cost-effective option for the growing mixed HIV epidemic in Ukraine. A strategy that expands both methadone substitution therapy and ART to high levels is the most effective intervention, and is very cost effective by WHO criteria. When expanding ART, access to methadone substitution therapy provides additional benefit in infections averted. Our findings are potentially relevant to other settings with mixed HIV epidemics.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are mainly driven by increasing use of injection drugs combined with heterosexual transmission. In the Ukraine, in 2007, there were 82,000 officially registered people living with HIV—three times the number registered in 1999—and an estimated 395,000 HIV infected adults. The epidemic in Ukraine, like other countries in the region, is concentrated in at-risk populations, particularly people who inject drugs: in 2007, an estimated 390,000 Ukrainians were injecting drugs, an increase in drug use over the previous decade, not only in Ukraine, but in other former USSR states, owing to the easy availability of precursors for injection drugs in a climate of economic collapse.
The common practices of people who inject drugs in Ukraine and in other countries in the region, such as social injecting, syringe sharing, and using common containers, increase the risk of transmitting HIV. Public health interventions such as needle exchange can limit these risk factors and have been gradually implemented in these countries. In 2007, Ukraine approved the use of methadone substitution therapy and the current target is for 11,000 people who inject drugs to be enrolled in substitution therapy by 2011. Furthermore, since treatment for HIV-infected individuals is also necessary, national HIV control plans included a target of 90% antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage by 2010 but in 2007 less than 10% of the 91,000 eligible people received treatment. Although the number of people who inject drugs and who receive ART is unknown, physicians are often reluctant to treat people who inject drugs using ART owing to alleged poor compliance.
Why Was This Study Done?
As resources for HIV interventions in the region are limited, it is important to investigate the appropriate balance between investments in methadone substitution therapy and ART in order to maximize benefits to public health. Several studies have analyzed the cost effectiveness of methadone substitution therapy in similar settings but have not considered tradeoffs between ART and methadone substitution therapy. Therefore, to provide insights into the appropriate public health investment in methadone substitution therapy and ART in Ukraine, the researchers evaluated the public health effectiveness and cost effectiveness of different strategies for scaling up methadone substitution therapy and/or expanding ART.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a model to accommodate different population groups: people who inject drugs on substitution therapy with methadone; people who inject opiates and do not take any substitution therapy; and people who do not inject any drugs, hence do not need substitution therapy. The researchers inputted Ukraine country-level data into this model and used current HIV trends in Ukraine to make rational assumptions on possible future trends and scenarios. They considered scenarios expanding methadone substitution therapy availability, increasing acces to ART, or both. Then, the researchers measured health care costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), HIV prevalence, infections averted, and incremental cost effectiveness for the different scenarios. They found that after 20 years, HIV prevalence reached 67.2% in people who inject drugs and 0.88% in people who do not inject drugs without further interventions. Offering methadone substitution therapy to 25% of people who inject drugs was the most effective strategy in reducing prevalence of HIV and was also the most cost effective, averting 4,700 infections and adding 75,700 QALYs versus the status quo at $530/QALY gained. Expanding both methadone substitution therapy and ART was also a highly cost effective option, adding 105,000 QALYs at US$1,120/QALY gained versus the methadone substitution therapy-only strategy. Offering ART to 80% of eligible people who did not inject drugs, and 10% of people who injected drugs averted only 1,800 infections, and added 76,400 QALYs at $1,330/QALY gained.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The results show that methadone substitution-focused therapeutic scenarios are the most cost effective, and that benefits increase with the scale of the project, even among people who do not inject drugs. This makes a methadone substitution strategy a highly cost-effective option for addressing the growing HIV epidemic in Ukraine. Therefore, if it is not feasible to invest in large-scale methadone substitution programs for any reason, political circumstances for example, providing as much methadone substitution as is acceptable is still desirable. While substitution therapy appears to avert the most HIV infections, expanded ART provides the largest total increase in QALYs. Thus, methadone substitution therapy and ART offer complementary benefits. Because the HIV epidemic in Ukraine is representative of the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the cost-effective strategies that the researchers have identified may help inform all decision makers faced with a mixed HIV epidemic.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Alliance provides information on its work supporting community action on AIDS in Ukraine
USAID provides an HIV/AIDS Health Profile for Ukraine
UNICEF provides information about its activities to help Ukraine fight rising HIV/AIDS infection rates
International Harm Reduction Association provides information about the status of harm reduction interventions such as methadone substitution therapy around the world
PMCID: PMC3046988  PMID: 21390264
20.  Seroprevalence Study of Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B Virus among Hospitalized Intravenous Drug Users in Ahvaz, Iran (2002-2006) 
Hepatitis Monthly  2010;10(2):101-104.
Background and Aims
Viral hepatitis is a serious complication among intravenous drug users (IDUs). The objectives of this study were to determine the seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV), and associated risk factors among IDUs at a teaching hospital in Ahvaz, southwest Iran.
Medical records of 333 IDUs hospitalized from 2002 to 2006 at Razi Hospital, which is affiliated to Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, were reviewed. Cases meeting the criteria for a diagnosis of viral hepatitis infection were included in this study. Patients’ characteristics, clinical and laboratory findings were extracted. Data of cases with hepatitis virus infection (HVI), called the HVI group and without HVI, called the NHVI group, were compared, using the chi-square test for qualitative variables and the t-test for quantitative variables. Differences with a P < 0.05 were considered significant.
Out of a total of 333 IDUs, 115 (34.5%), mostly male, with a mean age of 24.8±6.2 had HVI. More than 65% had a history of imprisonment. The mean duration of IDU was 4.5±1.6 years for the HVI group and 1.8±0.4 years for the NHVI group (P < 0.05). 85% of the HVI group and 45% of the NHVI group shared injection equipment (P < 0.05). 103 patients (30.9%) had HCV and 12 (3.6%) had HBV infection. There was a significant difference in age, duration of drug abuse, time spent in prison, sharing injection equipment, history of surgery, blood transfusion, packs of cigarettes per year and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection between the two groups (P < 0.05).
HVI in IDU population is a prevalent complication, and is associated with heavy smoking (high number of packs of cigarettes per year), sharing injection equipment, long duration of drug usage, long duration of prison stay, HIV co-infection, history of surgery, blood and blood products transfusion. Older age, longer duration of IDU and imprisonment put the cases at higher risk of acquiring HCV in comparison to HBV.
PMCID: PMC3270351  PMID: 22312381
Intravenous Drug Users; Viral Hepatitis; HBV; HCV
21.  Co-infection of hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients in New York City, United States 
AIM: To study the prevalence and risk factors associated with triple infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/hepatitis B virus (HBV)/hepatitis C virus (HCV) in an urban clinic population.
METHODS: Retrospective chart review of 5639 patients followed at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital HIV Clinic (Center for Comprehensive Care) in New York City, USA from January 1999 to May 2007. The following demographic characteristics were analyzed: age, sex, race and HIV risk factors. A multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the influence of demographic factors on acquisition of these viruses.
RESULTS: HIV/HBV, HIV/HCV and HIV/HBV/HCV infections were detected in 252/5639 (4.47%), 1411/5639 (25.02%) and 89/5639 (1.58%) patients, respectively. HIV/HBV co-infections were associated with male gender (OR 1.711; P = 0.005), black race (OR 2.091; P < 0.001), men having sex with men (MSM) (OR 1.747; P = 0.001), intravenous drug use (IDU) (OR 0.114; P < 0.001), IDU and heterosexual activity (OR 0.247; P = 0.018), or unknown (OR 1.984; P = 0.004). HIV/HCV co-infections were associated with male gender (OR 1.241; P = 0.011), black race (OR 0.788; P = 0.036), MSM (OR 0.565; P < 0.001), IDU (OR 8.956; P < 0.001), IDU and heterosexual activity (OR 9.106; P < 0.001), IDU and MSM (OR 9.179; P < 0.001), or transfusion (OR 3.224; P < 0.001). HIV/HBV/HCV co-infections were associated with male gender (OR 2.156; P = 0.015), IDU (OR 6.345; P < 0.001), IDU and heterosexual activity (OR 9.731; P < 0.001), IDU and MSM (OR 9.228; P < 0.001), or unknown (OR 4.219; P = 0.007).
CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrates that co-infection with HBV/HCV/HIV is significantly associated with IDU. These results highlight the need to intensify education and optimal models of integrated care, particularly for populations with IDU, to reduce the risk of viral transmission.
PMCID: PMC2773311  PMID: 19034972
Prevalence; Demographics; Human immunodeficiency virus; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C
22.  Marginalized and socially integrated groups of IDUs in Hungary – potential bridges of HIV infection 
The discrepancy in HIV rates among Eastern and Central European injecting drug users (IDUs) suggests that, in addition to risk behaviors, social contact patterns also play an important role. We identify two groups of IDUs in Budapest, Hungary, marginalized IDUs (M-IDUs) and socially integrated IDUs (SI-IDUs), and compare their HIV/HBV/HCV social and risk network characteristics, risk behaviors, and travel patterns. Between 05/2003 and 01/2004, 29 non-treatment-recruited young IDUs in Budapest participated in ethnographic interviews and focus groups. The mean age was 23.6 years (SD=3.6); eight were female and two Roma/Gypsy. Most injected heroin (n=23) and/or amphetamines (n=10) in the past 30 days. M-IDUs had no legal employment, injected heroin and sniffed glue, and stopped using drugs in treatment/prison. SI-IDUs had regular jobs or were students, injected heroin and sniffed cocaine, and stopped using drugs before exams/tests. Both M-IDUs and SI-IDUs shared injecting equipment on occasion and used condoms rarely. M-IDUs had a large social network of “buddies” and a small risk network of “friends”. SI-IDUs had two separate large social networks of “buddies”: a M-IDU and a non-IDU network; and a small risk network of “friends”. Both groups reported monogamous sexual relationships. M-IDUs traveled within Hungary whereas SI-IDUs traveled to Western Europe. If an HIV epidemic among IDUs in Hungary is not prevented, SI-IDUs may form a potential “bridge” of HIV infection between high-risk IDU populations and the low-risk, general population, while M-IDUs may become cores of infection. Different approaches may be appropriate for M-IDUs and SI-IDUs to prevent HIV.
PMCID: PMC2656943  PMID: 16107433
Human immunodeficiency virus; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C virus; injecting drug users; social marginalization; Central and Eastern Europe; risk behaviors; risk networks
23.  Blood-Borne Hepatitis in Opiate Users in Iran: A Poor Outlook and Urgent Need to Change Nationwide Screening Policy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82230.
Iran has the highest rate of opiate use worldwide. However, most opiate users are not screened for hepatitis virus infections. This study aimed to provide accurate, detailed data on the size of the opiate user population at risk of developing these infections.
This seroprevalence study was conducted in the city of Shiraz, southern Iran. All participants were screened for HBV, HCV and HIV infection. The data were analyzed with SPSS.
Among 569 participants, 233 (40.9%) were injection drug users (IDU), 369 (64.8%) were heterosexual, 84 (14.7%) were bisexual and 15 (2.6%) were homosexual. One hundred nine (19.1%) were HCV antibody-positive, 18 (3.1%) were HBS antigen-positive, 72 (12.6%) were HBc antibody-positive and 23 (4%) were HIV-positive. Among IDU compared to non-IDU, positivity rates for HBS antigen (5.5 vs 1.4%), HBc antibody (22.7 vs 5.6%), HCV antibody (40.3 vs 4.4%) and HIV (7.7 vs 1.4%) were higher (P < 0.05). Most patients with HBV (80.7%) and HCV infection (83.4%) were HIV-negative. In the cumulative analysis, only history of imprisonment was a statistically significant determinant of infection by HCV or HBV in opiate users.
The current policy of screening only HIV-positive drug users for HBV and HCV in Iran misses most cases of HBV and HCV infection. We therefore recommend urgent revision of the nationwide protocol by the Ministry of Health in Iran to implement routine screening of all opiate users and especially IDU for these viruses, regardless of their HIV status.
PMCID: PMC3846675  PMID: 24312645
24.  Association between TLR3 rs3775291 and resistance to HIV among highly exposed Caucasian intravenous drug users 
TLR3 recognizes dsRNA and triggers immune responses against RNA and DNA viruses. A polymorphism in TLR3, rs3775291 (Leu412Phe), has been associated with the increased susceptibility to enteroviral myocarditis, protection against tick-borne encephalitis virus and HIV-1 infection. We investigated Caucasian intravenous drug users (IDUs) and blood donors in order to evaluate the associations between TLR3 genotypes and susceptibility to HIV infection.
Materials and methods
A total of 345 Caucasian IDUs were recruited, 50% of them were HIV positive, 89% HCV and 77% HBV positive. Based on their history of needle sharing, 20 of the HIV negative IDUs were classified as highly exposed HIV seronegatives (HESNs), 68 as non-HESNs and 85 as unexposed. The control group consisting of 497 blood donors tested negative for all three viruses. TLR3 rs3775291 were determined by using TaqMan Allelic Discrimination Assay.
The TLR3 rs3775291 T allele frequency was similar among the HIV negative and HIV positive IDUs and blood donors – 36%, 31% and 34%, respectively. The frequency of persons possessing at least one TLR3 rs3775291 T allele was significantly higher in HESNs compared with blood donors and HIV positive IDUs (80% vs. 55%; p = 0.037 and 80% vs. 53%; p = 0.031, respectively). In the univariate analysis, persons who possessed at least one T allele had reduced odds of being HIV seropositive (OR = 0.29, 95% CI = 0.09–0.90). This association remained significant (OR = 0.25, 95% CI = 0.07–0.87) after the adjustment for other co-variates (HCV, HBV serostatus and duration of intravenous drug use).
The TLR3 rs3775291 T allele has a protective effect against HIV infection among HESNs IDUs.
PMCID: PMC4001117  PMID: 23962581
TLR3; Leu412Phe; Intravenous drug users; Highly exposed HIV seronegatives
25.  A Multicentre Molecular Analysis of Hepatitis B and Blood-Borne Virus Coinfections in Viet Nam 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39027.
Hepatitis B (HBV) infection is endemic in Viet Nam, with up to 8.4 million individuals estimated to be chronically infected. We describe results of a large, multicentre seroepidemiological and molecular study of the prevalence of HBV infection and blood-borne viral coinfections in Viet Nam. Individuals with varying risk factors for infection (n = 8654) were recruited from five centres; Ha Noi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa and Can Tho. A mean prevalence rate of 10.7% was observed and levels of HBsAg were significantly higher in injecting drug users (IDUs) (17.4%, n = 174/1000) and dialysis patients (14.3%, n = 82/575) than in lower-risk groups (9.4%; p<0.001). Coinfection with HIV was seen in 28% of HBV-infected IDUs (n = 49/174) and 15.2% of commercial sex workers (CSWs; n = 15/99). HCV infection was present in 89.8% of the HBV-HIV coinfected IDUs (n = 44/49) and 40% of HBV-HIV coinfected CSWs (n = 16/40). Anti-HDV was detected in 10.7% (n = 34/318) of HBsAg positive individuals. Phylogenetic analysis of HBV S gene (n = 187) showed a predominance of genotype B4 (82.6%); genotypes C1 (14.6%), B2 (2.7%) and C5 (0.5%) were also identified. The precore mutation G1896A was identified in 35% of all specimens, and was more frequently observed in genotype B (41%) than genotype C (3%; p<0.0001). In the immunodominant ‘a’ region of the surface gene, point mutations were identified in 31% (n = 58/187) of sequences, and 2.2% (n = 4/187) and 5.3% (n = 10/187) specimens contained the major vaccine escape mutations G145A/R and P120L/Q/S/T, respectively. 368 HBsAg positive individuals were genotyped for the IL28B SNP rs12979860 and no significant association between the IL28B SNP and clearance of HBsAg, HBV viral load or HBeAg was observed. This study confirms the high prevalence of HBV infection in Viet Nam and also highlights the significant levels of blood-borne virus coinfections, which have important implications for hepatitis-related morbidity and development of effective management strategies.
PMCID: PMC3374772  PMID: 22720022

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