GB virus C infection among HIV-positive patients in Estonia

Abstract number: 1733_154

Denks K., Huik K., Avi R., Sadam M., Krispin T., Karki T., Lutsar I.

Objectives: GB virus C (GBV-C) infection is not associated with any human disease. Some studies have shown that HIV-1 and GBV-C coinfected patients may have improved AIDS-free survival and higher CD4+ T-cell counts than GBV-C negative patients. The aim of current study was to determine the GBV-C infection frequency in HIV infected subjects in Estonia and to analyse if GBV-C infection associates with any other parameter of the study population.

Methods: Blood samples were collected from 95 HIV positive subjects (68 male and mean age of 28 years), between October 2005 and September 2006. 38 subjects were prisoners. All study subjects were infected with HIV between 2000 and 2005. 70 (74%) patients were or had been intravenous drug users (IDU), the remaining 25 were infected heterosexually. Among IDUs there were significantly more men than women; 61 (90%) vs 9 (33%) (OR = 17.4; p < 0.0001). 65 (68%) subjects were coinfected with hepatitis C (HCV) and/or hepatitis B virus (HBV). At the time of sampling, 14 study subjects were treated with antiretrovirals. GBV-C infection was detected using PCR of NS5A region [1]. The positive result was confirmed and genotyped using type-specific PCR targeting GBV-C 5' nontranslated region [2]. PCR products were analysed in agarose gel electrophoresis or by sequencing.

Results: GBV-C infection was detected in 33/95 (35%) subjects; the genotype 2 was the only one found. GBV-C infection was associated with IDU – 28 (41%) of past or current IDUs carried GBV-C infection versus only 5 (33%) of non-IDUs (OR = 6.7; p < 0.0001). Of men, 27 (40%) were GBV-C positive as compared with six (22%) women, but this difference arose from IDU rather from sex. The GBV-C carriage was not associated with HCV and/or HBV infection nor with the age. The CD4+ T-cell number and HIV load were measured six months prior the sampling in 55 and 43 patients, respectively. The average CD4+ T-cell count was similar in GBV-C positive and negative subjects; 289 vs 412 cells/mL, respectively. The average viral load was 50,580 copies/mL in GBV-C negative patients vs 207,754 copies/mL in GBV-C positive patients (p = 0.04).

Conclusion: The GBV-C infection was detected in one third of HIV-positive patients and its presence was associated with higher HIV loads. The relationship between GBV-C infection and IDU suggests that GBV-C could mainly be transmitted via intravenous route.


[1] George SL, Xiang J. Virology 2003; 316: 191–201.

[2] Naito H, Abe K. J Virol Methods 2001; 91: 3–9.

Session Details

Date: 31/03/2007
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Location: ICC, Munich, Germany
Presentation type:
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