Tonatiuh Barrientos-Gutiérrez, Diana Brizuela-Alcántara, Norberto C. Chávez-Tapia
Background & Aims. Several outbreaks of hepatitis A affecting homosexual men have been reported in Europe. However, the prevalence of HIV infection in patients affected by hepatitis A has not been extensively studied and hepatitis A is not considered as an indicator disease for routine HIV testing. Methods. We retrospectively analyzed all adult cases of acute hepatitis A, reported by the National Institute of Infectious Disease ''L. Spallanzani'', Rome-Italy, in 2002–2008. Data on HIV infection were obtained by chart review and cross-linkage with laboratory. Information on exposure to risk factors were collected from the standard questionnaire of the Local Health Unit. Results. We analyzed a total of 473 cases of hepatitis A, 368 (77.2%) males that accounted for 75% of all reported cases in Rome, aged 25–64 years (same gender distribution). During the study period, we diagnosed a high proportion of cases among male individuals (78%). Among the male patients, HIV serology was available for 203/368 (55.2%). The overall HIV prevalence was 15.2% (56/368); it was significantly associated with same gender sex and was significantly higher than that observed among patients with hepatitis B (4.0%). Conclusions. We found a high HIV prevalence, associated with same gender sex, among adult male patients diagnosed with hepatitis A in the period 2002–2008, except for 2006. Our data suggest that in a low incidence area for hepatitis A, with a constant high proportion of cases among male individuals, all individuals with acute hepatitis A should be routinely offered an HIV test.
Key words. Hepatitis A, HIV infections/diagnosis, Prevalence, Sex factor, Homosexuality, Male