HEV infection in French HIV-infected patients

J Infect. 2017 Mar;74(3):310-313. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2016.12.004. Epub 2016 Dec 18.


Objectives: The reported prevalence of anti-hepatitis E virus antibodies in HIV-positive patients from industrialized countries varies greatly. It is also difficult to compare these data with the anti-IgG prevalence in the general population because age and sex are not matched in most studies. Moreover, MSM are at increased risk of viral hepatitis.

Methods: HEV is endemic in southwestern France. We investigated therefore 300 HIV-infected patients consecutively attending the out-patient clinic of Toulouse University Hospital. Each HIV-infected patient was matched for sex and age with 2 healthy blood donors from the same area. They were tested for anti-HEV IgM and IgG.

Results: Anti-HEV IgG was found in 116 HIV-infected patients (38.7%) and in 284 matched controls (47.3%, p = 0.027). However, anti-HEV IgG concentration tended to be lower in HIV-patients than in controls. Anti-HEV IgM prevalence was similar HIV-infected patients (3.6%) and in matched controls (3.8%, p = 0.85).

Conclusion: The prevalence and concentrations of anti-HEV IgG in HIV-infected patients from Southern-France were lower than in controls, suggesting a weaker humoral response. But their prevalences of anti-HEV IgM were similar, indicating a high incidence of HEV infection. These data do not indicate that HEV is transmitted sexually.

Keywords: HEV; HIV; Humoral response; Seroprevalence; Sexual transmission.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Donors
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • Hepatitis Antibodies / blood*
  • Hepatitis E / complications*
  • Hepatitis E / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis E / immunology
  • Hepatitis E / transmission
  • Hepatitis E virus / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients
  • Prevalence
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Young Adult


  • Hepatitis Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • RNA, Viral