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Hepatitis E Virus Rare Among HIV-Infected Population

Prevalence of HEV viremia three in 2,919 plasma samples from HIV-infected adults

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MONDAY, Dec. 14, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) is low in HIV-infected (HIV+) women and men, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in Hepatology.

Mark H. Kuniholm, Ph.D., from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues tested 2,919 plasma samples collected from HIV+ women and men enrolled in U.S. cohort studies for HEV viremia. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to confirm positive samples identified using a high-throughput nucleic acid testing platform.

The researchers found that HEV viremia prevalence was three in 2,606 tested plasma samples collected from HIV+ women and zero in 313 tested plasma samples collected from HIV+ men. The HEV isolates were all genotype 3a. One woman had chronic HEV infection for more than four years and two had acute HEV detectable at a single study visit in follow-up testing of stored samples.

"To our knowledge this is the first reported case of chronic HEV infection in an HIV+ U.S. individual," the authors write. "We also confirm that chronic HEV infection can persist despite a CD4+ count >200 cells/mm³. These data suggest that HEV infection is rare in the HIV+ U.S. population."

Two authors are employees of Hologic, which developed the Procleix HEV assay in partnership with Grifols Diagnostic Solutions.

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