The current study aims to investigate the epidemiological features of HBV and/or HCV coinfection among HIV-infected populations and thereby help identify risk factors for coinfection.
HBV and HCV infections are widespread among the HIV-infected individuals in Nepal. The goals of this study were to investigate the epidemiological profile and risk factors for acquiring HBV and/or HCV coinfection in disadvantaged HIV-positive population groups in Nepal.
Researchers conducted a retrospective study on blood samples from HIV-positive patients from the National Public Health Laboratory at Kathmandu to assay for HBsAg, HBeAg, and anti-HCV antibodies, HIV viral load, and CD4+ T cell count.
Among 579 subjects, the prevalence of HIV-HBV, HIV-HCV, and HIV-HBV-HCV coinfections was 3.62%, 2.93%, and 0.34%, respectively. Multivariate regression analysis indicated that spouses of HIV-positive migrant labourers were at significant risk for coinfection with HBV infection, and an age of >40 years in HIV-infected individuals was identified as a significant risk factor for HCV coinfection.
Overall our study indicates that disadvantaged population groups such as intravenous drug users, migrant workers and their spouses, female sex workers, and men who have sex with HIV-infected men are at a high and persistent risk of acquiring viral hepatitis.
The study shows that coinfection with HBV and/or HCV is a serious health concern for HIV-infected members of disadvantaged population groups in Nepal.
Further, the study suggests that spouses of migrant workers and female sex workers have increased the risk of acquiring HBV and/or HCV. They highly recommend improved measures to ensure routine screening for HBV and HCV infection among HIV patients and their family members in Nepal.
Such a diagnostic strategy could serve to decrease overall disease prevalence and promote better health among both at-risk groups and the general population.
Researchers conclude that Nepalese HIV patients should receive HBV and HCV diagnostic screening on a regular basis.