(HealthDay News) — The prevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) is low in HIV-infected (HIV+) women and men, according to a study published online December 8 in Hepatology.

Mark H. Kuniholm, PhD, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY, and colleagues tested 2919 plasma samples collected from HIV+ women and men enrolled in US cohort studies for HEV viremia. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to confirm positive samples identified using a high-throughput nucleic acid testing platform.

The researchers found that HEV viremia prevalence was three in 2606 tested plasma samples collected from HIV+ women and zero in 313 tested plasma samples collected from HIV+ men. The HEV isolates were all genotype 3a. One woman had chronic HEV infection for more than four years and two had acute HEV detectable at a single study visit in follow-up testing of stored samples.

“To our knowledge this is the first reported case of chronic HEV infection in an HIV+ U.S. individual,” the authors write. “We also confirm that chronic HEV infection can persist despite a CD4+ count >200 cells/mm³. These data suggest that HEV infection is rare in the HIV+ US population.”

Two authors are employees of Hologic, which developed the Procleix HEV assay in partnership with Grifols Diagnostic Solutions.

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