Hepatitis B and D Diagnosis and Prevalence in People Who Use or Inject Drugs in ARUD, Centre for Addiction Medicine in Zurich.

Author: Claudia Bernardini, Lina Hijazi

Theme: Clinical Research Year: 2023

Coinfection with both hepatitis B and hepatitis D significantly negatively impacts the individual’s clinical course and outcome. Early identification and treatment of hepatitis D coinfection is crucial. This retrospective study aims to ascertain the current prevalence of active Hepatitis B and D infection among individuals attending a low threshold integrated addiction and harm reduction clinic.

Combined retrospective searches of our clinical and the laboratory systems enabled us to develop a database of at-risk individuals and those screened for Hepatitis B and D infection. Analysis of this data enabled the calculation of current prevalence in our cohort and identification of high risk untested individuals.

An initial review of our clinic data indicates that hepatitis B screening is not performed on all cases where it is indicated (1700/9000 patients). Of those who were screened 16 (0.95%) were positive, which is about twice the prevalence in the general Swiss population (0.53%). Of those who had chronic active hepatitis B, 5 (31.3%) were also hepatitis D co-infected, which is a much higher prevalence than the reported levels in the literature, with a prevalence of 5.9% of hepatitis D in HBsAg-positive patients.

Our patient group has a higher burden of infection and is currently not effectively screened for active hepatitis B and D infection. Routine screening should be the norm.

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