Open Access Research article

Viral hepatitis and HIV-associated tuberculosis: Risk factors and TB treatment outcomes in Thailand

Chawin Sirinak1, Wanitchaya Kittikraisak2, Duangporn Pinjeesekikul1, Pricha Charusuntonsri1, Phinai Luanloed1, La-ong Srisuwanvilai1, Sriprapa Nateniyom3, Somsak Akksilp4, Sirirat Likanonsakul5, Wanchai Sattayawuthipong6, Channawong Burapat2 and Jay K Varma27*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Bangkok, Thailand

2 Thailand Ministry of Public Health – U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Collaboration, Nonthaburi, Thailand

3 Thailand Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand

4 Office of Disease Prevention and Control 7, Ubon-ratchathani, Thailand

5 Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, Nonthaburi, Thailand

6 Phuket Provincial Health Office, Phuket, Thailand

7 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:245  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-245

Published: 18 July 2008



The occurrence of tuberculosis (TB), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and viral hepatitis infections in the same patient poses unique clinical and public health challenges, because medications to treat TB and HIV are hepatotoxic. We conducted an observational study to evaluate risk factors for HBsAg and/or anti-HCV reactivity and to assess differences in adverse events and TB treatment outcomes among HIV-infected TB patients.


Patients were evaluated at the beginning, during, and at the end of TB treatment. Blood samples were tested for aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), total bilirubin (BR), complete blood count, and CD4+ T lymphocyte cell count. TB treatment outcomes were assessed at the end of TB treatment according to international guidelines.


Of 769 enrolled patients, 752 (98%) had serologic testing performed for viral hepatitis: 70 (9%) were reactive for HBsAg, 237 (31%) for anti-HCV, and 472 (63%) non-reactive for both markers. At the beginning of TB treatment, 18 (26%) patients with HBsAg reactivity had elevated liver function tests compared with 69 (15%) patients non-reactive to any viral marker (p = 0.02). At the end of TB treatment, 493 (64%) were successfully treated. Factors independently associated with HBsAg reactivity included being a man who had sex with men (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–4.3) and having low TB knowledge (AOR, 1.8; CI, 1.0–3.0). Factors most strongly associated with anti-HCV reactivity were having injection drug use history (AOR, 12.8; CI, 7.0–23.2) and living in Bangkok (AOR, 15.8; CI, 9.4–26.5). The rate of clinical hepatitis and death during TB treatment was similar in patients HBsAg reactive, anti-HCV reactive, both HBsAg and anti-HCV reactive, and non-reactive to any viral marker.


Among HIV-infected TB patients living in Thailand, markers of viral hepatitis infection, particularly hepatitis C virus infection, were common and strongly associated with known behavioral risk factors. Viral hepatitis infection markers were not strongly associated with death or the development of clinical hepatitis during TB treatment.