PLoS One 2019 19;14(7):e0219922. Epub 2019 Jul 19.
Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
Background: Hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C (HCV) virus co-infections in HIV are alarming during pregnancy due to the risk of vertical transmission and the eventual adverse effects on neonates. This study was conducted to ascertain the sero-prevalence of HIV/HBV and HIV/HCV co-infections, evaluate the effect of the co-infections on the immunological and virological characteristics and assess the association between some demographic and lifestyle characteristics and risk of HBV, HCV, HIV/HBV and HIV/HCV co-infections among pregnant women living in the Brong-Ahafo Region of Ghana.
Methods: This comparative cross-sectional study was conducted at the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) clinics of the St. Elizabeth Hospital and the Holy Family Hospital, Brong-Ahafo Region, Ghana. A total of 248 consecutive consenting pregnant Ghanaian women, 148 diagnosed with HIV [HIV (+)] and 100 who were HIV negative [HIV (-)], were recruited. Validated questionnaire was used to obtain demographic and lifestyle data. Venous blood samples were obtained and HCV status, HBV profile, CD4+ T cell count, and HIV-1 RNA load were determined.
Results: The sero-prevalence of HIV (+) /HBV, HIV (+) /HCV, HIV (-)/HBV, and HIV (-)/HCV infections were 22 (14.9%), 6 (4.1%), 10 (10.0%), and 12 (12.0%) respectively. HIV-1 viral load was not significantly different between HIV/HBV, HIV/HCV co-infection and HIV mono-infection. However, CD4+ T lymphocyte count (364 vs 512 vs 514 cells/μl; p = 0.0009) was significantly lower in HIV/HBV co-infection compared to HIV/HCV and HIV mono-infection respectively. There was no significant association between demographic and lifestyle characteristics and risk of HBV and HCV infections in HIV positive and negative subjects except for late diagnosis of HIV and history of sharing razors blades and pins, where increased odds of HIV (+) /HBV and HIV (-)/HBV infection were observed.
Conclusions: The prevalence of HIV (+)/HBV (14.9%), HIV (+)/HCV (4.1%), HIV (-)/HBV (10.0%), and HIV (-)/HCV (12.0%) are high among pregnant women in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. HIV/HBV is associated with reduced CD4+ T lymphocyte count but not HIV-1 viral load. Early diagnosis of HIV and intensification of routine antenatal HBV and HCV are essential to abate the risk of maternal to child transmission.