Publications Date
Phinius BB, Anderson M, Gobe I, Mokomane M, Choga WT, Mutenga SR, Mpebe G, Pretorius-Holme M, Musonda R, Gaolathe T, Mmalane M, Shapiro R, Makhema J, Lockman S, Novitsky V, Essex M, Moyo S, Gaseitsiwe S.
Open Forum Infect Dis.

Background: We aimed to determine the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection among people with human immunodeficiency virus (PWH) in rural and periurban communities in Botswana.

Methods: PWH from a previous population-based study, the Botswana Prevention Combination Project, which enrolled adults in 30 communities across Botswana (2013-2018), were screened for HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) and HBV core antibody (anti-HBc). HBsAg-positive (HBsAg+) samples were further screened for HBV core immunoglobulin M antibodies (anti-HBc immunoglobulin M [IgM]) and HBV e antigen (HBeAg). We quantified HBV viral load on participants who tested positive (n = 148) and negative for HBsAg (n = 381).

Results: Of 3304 participants tested, 271 (8% [95% confidence interval {CI}, 7%-9%]) were HBsAg+ while 1788 (56% [95% CI, 54%-57%]) of 3218 PWH whom we tested had positive anti-HBc. Approximately 88% of HBsAg+ participants were on antiretroviral therapy (ART), 40% and 56% of whom were receiving lamivudine- and tenofovir-containing ART, respectively. Male sex (relative risk ratio [RRR], 1.8 [95% CI, 1.2-2.7]) and the northern geographic region (RRR, 2.5 [95% CI, 1.4-4.7]) were independent predictors of HBV infection (HBsAg+). Of 381 persons with negative HBsAg who were tested for occult HBV, 126 (33% [95% CI, 29%-38%]) had positive HBV DNA. Eleven participants were highly viremic with high HBV viral load while on a lamivudine- or tenofovir-containing regimen. Ten (91%) of these participants also had positive HBeAg serology, while 4 (36%) had positive anti-HBc IgM serology.

Conclusions: The prevalence of HBV was high among PWH in Botswana while on ART regimens with activity against HBV.

Keywords: Africa; Botswana; hepatitis B virus; human immunodeficiency virus; occult HBV.