What is HBV/HIV Co-infection?
A person who is infected with both the hepatitis B and the HIV viruses is said to have a HBV/HIV Co-infection. Approximately 10% of the HIV-infected population worldwide is infected with hepatitis B. This figure may approach 20% in Southeast Asia, and 5% in North America and Western Europe.
Since both the hepatitis B virus and the HIV virus share similar transmission routes, it is not surprising that there is a high frequency of co-infection. Sexual activity and/or injection drug use are the most common routes of transmission of the hepatitis B virus among those also infected with HIV.
While highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has dramatically improved the lives of those with HIV, the consequences of associated illnesses such as hepatitis B co-infections have become more relevant.
Conditions associated with hepatitis B and C are currently among the leading causes of hospital admission and death in the HIV-infected population. Therefore, the adequate management of hepatitis B and C is now being considered a priority in HIV-coinfected patients.
Since there is not a ‘cure’ at this time for hepatitis B, the main goal of treating HBV/HIV-co-infection is to stop or slow down HBV viral activity as much as possible and for as long as possible.