Thursday, 28 July 2016

Hepatitis B is a more dangerous infection than HIV

HIV and Viral hepatitis
Hepatitis B is a more dangerous infection than HIV

Dr K K Aggarwal
  • Viral hepatitis and HIV coinfection is a common problem and challenge to the treating clinician.
  • People with HIV who are coinfected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) are at increased risk for serious, life-threatening health complications.
  • All people living with HIV should be tested for Hepatitis B and C infections.
  • HIV and viral hepatitis coinfection can complicate the management of HIV infection.
  • Progression of liver disease is faster in individuals with HIV and viral hepatitis coinfection; also, they may not respond as well to treatment.
  • Hepatitis B is preventable; hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for high-risk people or those living with HIV who have tested negative for HBV.
  • Give Hepatitis B vaccine to all unvaccinated persons after exposure to blood. If the exposed blood is positive for HBV and the exposed person is unvaccinated, treatment with hepatitis B immune globulin is recommended.
  • HIV, HBV and HCV have similar routes of transmission. They spread by contact with infected body fluids such as blood, semen and vaginal fluid, or from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery. Because of these shared routes of transmission, people at risk for HIV infection are also at risk for HBV or HCV infection. Of these, hepatitis B is more infectious.
  • Hepatitis B virus gets transmitted by percutaneous and mucosal exposures and human bites.
  • Hepatitis B can also be transmitted by fomites such as finger stick blood sugar check, multi dose medication vials, jet gun injectors, and endoscopes.  Hepatitis B virus can survive on counter tops for up to 7 days and remain capable of causing infection.
  • Any scratch, cut and wound should be cleaned with soap and water and covered with a waterproof dressing or plaster. Expressing fluid by squeezing the wound will not reduce the risk of blood borne infection.
  • Blood spills from someone with hepatitis B should be cleaned up with appropriate infection control procedures e.g. wearing gloves, and using an appropriate cleaning product for the surface, such as diluted bleach or detergent and warm water.
  • Transmission of hepatitis C virus can occur from infected fluid splashes to the conjunctiva. Hepatitis C virus can survive on environmental surfaces for up to 16 hours.

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