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Hepatitis and HIV CoinfectionHepatitis and HIV Coinfection
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Dec 1, 2007

as I understand, someone infected with hep b has around a 10% chance of developing liver problems. if that same person also is hiv, does this rate go up? if so- how much? if co infected would you still say the vast majority will still live a normal or near normal lifespan?

Response from Dr. McGovern

When an adult becomes infected with hepatitis B, they have about a 5 to 10 percent chance of becoming chronically infected; however most patients clear their virus. Those who become chronically infected need followup to determine if they develop liver disease. Patients who develop a significant amount of liver disease go on therapy to suppress the virus.

An HIV infected person who acquires HBV has a higher chance of developing chronic infection and liver disease. However, I would say that we have entered a new phase in our understanding of what the natural history of HBV will be in HIV infected patients since some of our HAART meds have dual activity against HIV and HBV. I think we are going to see major improvements over time that will demonstrate that virus suppression is feasible with drugs like Truvada. This medication combines two drugs in one pill that effectively combat HBV.

Also of note - at the liver meetings just last month, one of the drugs in Truvada - tenofovir (Viread) was shown to be very effective against HBV in a clinical trial in HBV infected patients with liver disease. This is good news for our HIV/HBV coinfected patients!

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