Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Long term follow up of chronic hepatitis B virus infection in intravenous drug abusers and homosexual men.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 292 doi: (Published 29 March 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;292:854
  1. T Moestrup,
  2. B G Hansson,
  3. A Widell,
  4. E Nordenfelt,
  5. I Hägerstrand


    Long term follow up of 16 homosexual men and 78 intravenous drug abusers who were chronic carriers of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) showed fundamental differences between the two groups. Viral replication, expressed by the presence of hepatitis B e antigen, lasted for four years or more in 10 out of 14 (71%) of the homosexual men whereas it was not present in 43 out of 73 (59%) of the drug addicts within one year. This shows a difference in the immunological response between homosexual HBsAg carriers and addicts that is not related to infection with human T cell lymphotropic virus type III. Severe histological damage such as chronic aggressive hepatitis, cirrhosis, or primary liver cancer was found in more than half of the homosexual men who underwent biopsy examinations. In drug addicts chronic persistent hepatitis was a regular finding in the absence of markers of delta infection, but in those addicts infected with the delta agent the degree of liver damage was comparable with that found in homosexual men.