HIV/HBV co-infection places patients at high risk of liver-related morbidity and mortality and the interaction of the two viruses can further complicate treatment. Pregnant women are especially at high risk for increased morbidity and mortality due to infection, and information about HIV/HBV co-infection in pregnant women is scanty. This study examined the occurrence of HBV antibodies in HIV-1 positive pregnant women and the relationship to Ante-retroviral therapy (ART) and other demographic characteristics. Blood samples were collected from 135 HIV pregnant positive women who were either on ART or Not, from May – June, 2008 at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) and the Plateau State Specialist Hospital (PSSH). Presence of hepatitis B surface (HBsAg) antigen in serum was determined using Antec strips (Antec diagnostics UK) and their immunologic status were determined by measuring the CD4+ counts using SL_3 cyFlow counter (Partec, Germany) . Sixteen 16 (11.8%) of the women examined were seropositive for Hepatitis B virus. Occupation was significantly associated with the prevalence of the hepatitis co-infection in the population examined (8.8% of house wives and 5.5% of business women had co-infection, p<0.05). The immunologic status (CD4+ of most of the HIV/HBV co-infected pregnant women (81.5%) was low (below 300 cells/mm3) although all were on Anti retroviral therapy. The 11.8% prevalence rate reported in this study confirms the endemicity of HBV /HIV co-infection in Nigeria, and this supports the calls for screening for Hepatitis B as a routine in antenatal care.
Keywords: HIV, Hepatitis, Co-infection, CD4, Pregnant women
Download full journal in PDF below