The prevalence of hepatitis B virus among HIV-positive patients at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre Referral Hospital, Northern Tanzania

Tasilo Kamenya, Damian Jeremia Damian, James Samwel Ngocho, Rune Nathaniel Philemon, Michael Johnson Mahande, Sia Emmanueli Msuya
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Introduction: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus are prevalent infections in sub-Saharan Africa, but information on the prevalence of co-infection is limited. This study aimed to determine seroprevalence and risk factors for hepatitis B virus infection among people living with HIV receiving care and treatment at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre Referral Hospital in northern Tanzania.


Methods: this was a cross-sectional study conducted from March to June 2015 among people living with HIV (PLWHIV) aged 15 years and above attending the Care and Treatment Clinic for routine care at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre. Systematic sampling was used to select the study participants. Information on socio-demographic data, sexual behaviour and medical history were collected using a questionnaire. Hepatitis B surface antigen was diagnosed using a rapid test. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data.


Results: a total of 300 PLWHIV consented to participate in this study, of whom 62% were female. Their ages ranged from 15-75 years, with a median age of 46 years (IQR of 39-53 years). The seroprevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen among people living with HIV was 2.3% (n=7/300). A history of blood transfusion was the only factor associated with hepatitis B surface antigen infection, while other socio-demographic and clinical factors showed no association.


Conclusion: hepatitis B virus infection is infrequent among PLWHIV in this setting. Despite the prevalence, we recommend routine screening for hepatitis B surface antigen and other hepatitis B virus markers among PLWHIV in order to tailor antiretroviral regimens against hepatitis B virus.