The study aimed to determine the prevalence of occult hepatitis B virus infection among HIV-infected persons and to evaluate the use of a pooling strategy to detect occult HBV infection in the setting of HIV infection. Five hundred and two HIV-positive individuals were tested for HBV, occult HBV and hepatitis C and D with serologic and nucleic acid testing (NAT). We also evaluated a pooled NAT strategy for screening occult HBV infection among the HIV-positive individuals. The prevalence of HBV infection among HIV-positive individuals was 32 (6.4%), and occult HBV prevalence was 10%. The pooling HBV NAT had a sensitivity of 66.7% and specificity of 100%, compared to HBV DNA NAT of individual samples. In conclusion, this study found a high prevalence of occult HBV infection among our HIV-infected population. We also demonstrated that pooled HBV NAT is highly specific, moderately sensitive and cost-effective. As conventional HBV viral load assays are expensive in resource-limited settings such as India, pooled HBV DNA NAT might be a good way for detecting occult HBV infection and will reduce HBV-associated complications.
- occult HBV
- pooled NAT and resource-limited settings
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases