Hepatitis B and C virus infections in the immune compromised

Geoffrey Haydon, David Mutimer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

10 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review compares and contrasts the natural history and treatment of hepatitis B and C virus infections in three principal populations of immune compromised individuals: (1) patients co-infected with HIV; (2) patients with liver failure secondary to hepatitis B or C virus infection who undergo liver transplantation, and (3) patients with hepatitis B or C virus infection who undergo anticancer chemotherapy. RECENT FINDINGS: Chronic liver disease resulting from hepatitis B or C virus infection progresses more rapidly in patients co-infected with HIV than in HIV negative patients. Treatment protocols for antiviral therapy are, however, similar to those used in immunocompetent individuals and although few long-term results are available, the efficacy of interferon and ribavirin therapy in hepatitis C virus/HIV infection and lamivudine in HIV/hepatitis B virus infection has been proven in the short-term. Perhaps the most important consideration is the timing of administering treatments to co-infected patients. For patients with well preserved CD4 counts and hepatitis C virus/HIV co-infection, the hepatitis infection should be treated as early as possible to avoid drug interactions of hepatitis C virus antivirals with antiretroviral therapy. Also, response to hepatitis C virus treatment appears better when treatment is administered in the context of preserved immune function. Conversely, in hepatitis B virus/HIV co-infection, hepatitis B virus antivirals are best administered with anti-retroviral therapy, thus preventing the selection of HIV viral species which may be resistant to the drugs used for hepatitis B virus. Improved graft and patient survival after liver transplant and with anticancer chemotherapy in hepatitis B virus infected patients has been proven using lamivudine prophylaxis. However, although therapy for hepatitis C virus recurrence after liver transplantation would seem rational, limited success with current treatment protocols has been achieved. SUMMARY: Although the prognosis of hepatitis B and C virus infections in the immune compromised may be inferior to that of immunocompetent individuals, such patients should have full evaluation of their viral hepatitis, and antiviral therapy should be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-479
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2003


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