Heroin addicts infected by HBV and HIV have a low prevalence of HBV DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells

C. Delfini, A. R. Garbuglia, E. Alfani, A. Di Caro, P. Sette, A. Benedetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several reports show that the prevalence of HBV (hepatitis B virus) carriers in HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infected populations is significantly higher than in HIV seronegative individuals, independent of the risk group for HIV, that is, homosexuals or drug abusers. In this context, evaluation of the simultaneous presence of HBV and HIV in PBMCs (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) is of particular interest for at least 2 reasons: 1) the possible reciprocal influence of the 2 viruses when they infect the same cell; 2) the possibility that HIV-induced hematological disorders could indirectly influence the settling of HBV in blood cell populations. We report data on the frequency of PCR positivity for HBV DNA in PBMCs from 62 HIV infected patients, rigorously selected by risk group, that is, intravenous use of heroin for at least 3 years and syringe promiscuity. Sixty-seven HIV negative individuals who never used any drug formed the control group. The analysis of the cases positive for HBV DNA in PBMCs showed that 1) the overall prevalence of PCR positivity found in HIV infected patients was significantly lower than that registered in the control group; 2) PCR positivity among the subjects who were HBsAg negative and anti-HBV positive was extremely low in the HIV infected patients (3.7%) but quite frequent in the HIV negative subjects (37.0%). The results support the hypothesis that, unlike the HIV negative individuals, our HIV infected patients exhibited HBV DNA in PBMCs almost exclusively when they presented with active HBV replication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-119
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • Drug abusers
  • HIV and HBV coinfection
  • Lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology

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