Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) share routes of transmission. There is limited data on the incidence of active co-infection with HBV and/or HCV in cancer patients infected with HIV in Africa. This was a prospective study based on 34 patients with varied cancer diagnosis, infected with HIV and awaiting cancer therapy in South Africa. HIV viral load, CD4+ cell counts, Alanine-aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels were tested. Exposure to HBV and HCV was assessed serologically using commercial kits. Active HBV and/or HCV co-infection was detected using viral specific nested PCR assays. HCV 5′-UTR PCR products were sequenced to confirm active HCV infection. Active viral infection was detected in 64.7% of patients for HBV, 38.2% for HCV, and 29.4% for both HBV and HCV. Occult HBV infection was observed in 63.6% of the patients, while seronegative HCV infection was found in 30.8% of patients. In addition, CD4+ cell count<350 cells/μl was not a risk factor for increased active HBV, HCV or both HBV and HCV co-infections. A total of 72.7%, 18.2% and 9.1% of the HCV sequences were assigned genotype 5, 1 and 4 respectively.The study revealed for the first time a high active HBV and/or HCV co-infection rate in cancer patients infected with HIV. The findings call for HBV and HCV testing in such patients, and where feasible, appropriate antiviral treatment be indicated, as chemotherapy or radiotherapy has been associated with reactivation of viral hepatitis and termination of cancer therapy. J. Med. Virol. 87:213-221, 2015.
- HBV and HCV co-infection
- South Africa