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May 1985

Evolution of Acute Hepatitis B in Homosexual Men to Chronic Hepatitis B: Prospective Study of Placebo Recipients in a Hepatitis B Vaccine Trial

Author Affiliations

From the Liver Study Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago (Drs Shah and Baker) and the Howard Brown Memorial Clinic, Chicago (Dr Ostrow and Mr Altman). Dr Shah is now with Ravenswood Hospital Medical Center, Chicago.

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(5):881-882. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360050145024

• To determine whether the frequency of chronic hepatitis B in homosexual men reflects the high rate of acute hepatitis B or an altered response to hepatitis B, 236 homosexual men were prospectively followed up after entry into the placebo group of a hepatitis B vaccine trial. Sixty-six participants (28.0%) developed hepatitis B ten to 18 months after entering the study. Only four (6.1%) of the 66 had persistence of hepatitis B beyond six months, similar to reports in nonhomosexual subjects. This study suggests that the high rate of acute hepatitis B is the major factor contributing to the high prevalence of chronic hepatitis B in homosexual men, rather than an altered host response. Clinical features of the acute illness could not be used to identify patients who developed chronic hepatitis B.

(Arch Intern Med 1985;145:881-882)