A microscopic image of the Hepatitis B virus, taken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Despite their high risk for infection, more than one third of U.S. HIV patients fail to get vaccinated for hepatitis B. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Persons with HIV are at increased risk for hepatitis B virus infection and vaccination is recommended. However, liver-related deaths among HIV patients, in which hepatitis B plays a central role, account for the largest proportion of deaths not related to AIDS. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) resolved to eliminate HBV infection as a by 2030.

To estimate the prevalence of hepatitis B vaccination among HIV patients and establish a benchmark for the WHO initiatve, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed a nationally representative sample of 18,089 adults receiving HIV medical care who participated in the Medical Monitoring Project during 2009 to 2012. They found that more than one third of U.S HIV patients had not been vaccinated for hepatitis B. In addition, only 1 in 10 of these vaccination candidates was vaccinated in the course of 1 year of ongoing HIV care.

According to the researchers, meeting goals for hepatitis B elimination will require a multifaceted approach to increasing vaccination of HIV patients. Particular attention should be focused on increasing vaccination of patients who receive care in private practices and at facilities not funded by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.

More information: Annals of Internal Medicine (2017). http://annals.org/aim/article/doi/10.7326/M17-1689

Journal information: Annals of Internal Medicine