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Open Access Research article

Hepatitis A, B and C viral co-infections among HIV-infected adults presenting for care and treatment at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Tumaini J Nagu1*, Muhammad Bakari1 and Mecky Matee2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, P.O. Box 65001, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

2 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, P.O. Box 65347, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:416  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-416

Published: 19 December 2008

Abstract

Background

Tanzania is currently scaling-up access to anti-retro viral therapy (ART) to reach as many eligible persons as possible. Hepatitis viral co-infections are known to influence progression, management as well as outcome of HIV infection. However, information is scarce regarding the prevalence and predictors of viral hepatitis co-infection among HIV-infected individuals presenting at the HIV care and treatment clinics in the country.

Methods

A cross-sectional study conducted between April and September 2006 enrolled 260 HIV-1 infected, HAART naïve patients aged ≥18 years presenting at the HIV care and treatment clinic (CTC) of the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH). The evaluation included clinical assessment and determination of CD4+ T-lymphocyte count, serum transaminases and serology for Hepatitis A, B and C markers by ELISA.

Results

The prevalence of anti HAV IgM, HBsAg, anti-HBc IgM and anti-HCV IgG antibodies were 3.1%, 17.3%, 2.3% and 18.1%, respectively. Dual co-infection with HBV and HCV occurred in 10 individuals (3.9%), while that of HAV and HBV was detected in two subjects (0.8%). None of the patients had all the three hepatitis viruses. Most patients (81.1%) with hepatitis co-infection neither had specific clinical features nor raised serum transaminases. History of blood transfusion and jaundice were independent predictors for HBsAg and anti-HBc IgM positivity, respectively.

Conclusion

There is high prevalence of markers for hepatitis B and C infections among HIV infected patients seeking care and treatment at MNH. Clinical features and a raise in serum alanine aminotransferase were of limited predictive values for the viral co-infections. Efforts to scale up HAART should also address co-infections with Hepatitis B and C viruses.