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Prolonged AIDS Treatment May Help Control Hepatitis B

Highly active antiretroviral therapy is beneficial in patients co-infected with hepatitis B virus

WEDNESDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who are co-infected with HIV and the hepatitis B virus, prolonged use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may help control hepatitis B virus infection and delay or prevent liver complications, according to a study in the May/June issue of HIV Clinical Trials.

Tsan Lee, of the Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, N.C., and a colleague reviewed 72 chart records of primarily African-American male patients (median age, 39 years) who received highly active antiretroviral therapy between 1990 and 2008.

The researchers found that prolonged use of hepatitis B virus-active HAART was associated with an increased clearance of HBeAg and HBsAg (odds ratios, 2.66 and 1.54, respectively). The rate of diagnosis of liver-related complications and death was 24.6 and 10.5 per 1,000 patient-years, respectively.

"Those with higher alanine aminotransferase levels at presentation seem to have higher risk of being diagnosed with cirrhosis during the first few years of follow-up," the authors conclude. "Other factors such as low nadir CD4 counts and hepatitis C virus co-infection might increase the risk of liver complications as well."

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