Response to HAART and GB virus type C coinfection in a cohort of antiretroviral-naive HIV-infected individuals

Giorgio Antonucci, Enrico Girardi, Alessandro Cozzi-Lepri, Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, Giulia Morsica, Paolo Pizzaferri, Nicoletta Ladisa, Laura Sighinolfi, Alessandro Chiodera, Mariacarmela Solmone, Eleonora Lalle, Giuseppe Ippolito, Antonella d'Arminio Monforte, et al.
Antiviral Therapy 2005, 10 (1): 109-17
The prognostic role of GB virus type C (GBV-C) viraemia in HIV-infected subjects treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is still undefined. The aim of this analysis is to assess the relationship between GBV-C infection and response to antiretroviral therapy among HIV-infected subjects initiating HAART when antiretroviral-naive. A prospective, observational study of 400 HIV-infected patients with measurements of GBV-C RNA, hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies and HCV RNA determined from plasma stored prior to HAART initiation. Time to virological (achieving HIV RNA < or =500 copies/ml) and immunological success (a CD4+ count increase of > or =200 cells/microl), and the time to virological relapse (confirmed HIV RNA >500 copies/ml) were assessed by Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox proportional hazard regression model. Of the subjects, 117 (29.3%) were GBV-C positive and, overall, 351 (87.8%) patients achieved virological success. After controlling for a number of confounders including HCV RNA, GBV-C viraemic patients experienced a significantly lower risk of HIV rebound than those who were GBV-C negative [relative hazard (RH)=0.56, 95% CI: 0.34-0.93, P=0.03]. Conversely, the probability of achieving initial virological success or CD4+ count response after HAART did not differ between GBV-C-negative and -positive subjects. These results suggest that GBV-C coinfection may play a role in determining the rate of HIV rebound possibly by competing with HIV replication after HIV load has been successfully suppressed by HAART.

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