Epidemiologic features of 348 children with hepatitis C virus infection over a 30-year period: a nationwide survey in Japan
Hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) affect many people in Asian countries, although there are geographic differences. Both HBV and HIV (HBV/HIV) and HCV/HIV co-infections are highly prevalent in Asia. Hetero- and homosexual, injection drug use, and geographic area are strong predictors of HBV, HCV, and HIV serostatus. In HBV endemic regions, the prevalence and genotype distribution of HBV/HIV co-infection is almost comparable with that in the general population. In Japan, where HBV has low endemicity, the prevalence of HBV/HIV co-infection is approximately 10-fold higher than that in the general population, and HBV Ae is the most common subgenotype among HIV infected individuals. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is an effective treatment for HIV/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Lamivudine, a component of HAART, is an effective treatment for HBV, HIV, and HBV/HIV co-infection; however, cost, emerging drug resistance, antiretroviral-associated liver toxicity and liver-related morbidity due to HCV progression are particular concerns. HCV/HIV co-infection may accelerate the clinical progression of both HCV and HIV. The high prevalence of HBV/HIV and HCV/HIV co-infections in Asia underscores the need to improve prevention and control measures, as fewer evidence-based prevention strategies are available (compared with Western countries). In this review, the most recent publications on the prevalence of HBV/HIV and HCV/HIV co-infections and related issues, such as therapy and problems in Asia, are updated and summarized.