Testing for hepatitis B virus and HIV in patients with chronic hepatitis C: screening performance and outcome.

Research paper by Maria M Bolther, Lars Skov LS Dalgaard, Lena Hagelskjaer LH Kristensen, Britta Damgaard BD Tarp, Søren S Jensen-Fangel

Indexed on: 20 Aug '14Published on: 20 Aug '14Published in: Scandinavian journal of infectious diseases


Patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and co-infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and/or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at increased risk for progression of liver disease. The aim of this study was to assess HBV and HIV screening performance and outcome in HCV patients followed at a Danish university hospital and affiliated regional outpatient clinics.HBV and HIV serology data were extracted from a quality assurance database for the assessment of screening performance in patients diagnosed with chronic HCV infection during the period 1 January 1996 to 31 December 2011. Patients with incomplete and missing serology data had complementary serology tests performed to assess the prevalence of HBV and HIV co-infection and HBV immune status.Among 624 HCV patients, 10 (2%) were co-infected with chronic HBV and 32 (5%) with HIV. Approximately half of the cohort were non-immune to HBV or had an unknown HBV serology status. Serology results consistent with resolved infection and HBV vaccination were found in 209 (33%) and 65 (10%) patients, respectively. During the 16-y observation period, HBV and HIV screening coverage at HCV diagnosis increased from 23% to 92% and from 38% to 80%, respectively.Despite improvements throughout the study period, HBV and HIV serology screening remained incomplete. The majority of patients were either HBV non-immune or had an unknown HBV serology status. These findings thus call for a more proactive screening approach as well as an improved HBV vaccination strategy for patients with chronic HCV infection.