Effect of hepatitis C infection on progression of HIV disease and early response to initial antiretroviral therapy

Patrick S Sullivan, Debra L Hanson, Eyasu H Teshale, Linda L Wotring, John T Brooks
AIDS 2006 May 12, 20 (8): 1171-9

OBJECTIVES: To describe the effect of hepatitis C virus (HCV) on the progression of HIV disease and on early changes in the CD4 cell count and HIV viral load after HAART initiation.

DESIGN AND METHODS: Data were from a longitudinal medical records review project conducted in over 100 US medical clinics from 1998 to 2004. We analysed data from HIV-infected patients who received antiretroviral therapy (ART), calculated adjusted hazard ratios describing the hazard of death or progression to an AIDS-defining opportunistic illness (AIDS-OI) associated with prevalent HCV infection, and estimated the change in CD4 cell count and HIV viral load after HAART initiation, stratified by HCV status.

RESULTS: A total of 10 481 HIV-infected individuals were followed for a median of 1.9 years; 19% had HCV. HCV infection was not associated with progression to AIDS-OI or death after controlling for important confounding conditions. Factors significantly confounding the risk of both death and diagnosis of an AIDS-OI were alcoholism, drug-induced hepatitis, and the type of ART prescribed. Acute and chronic hepatitis B infection confounded the risk of AIDS-OI diagnosis. During the 12 months after starting HAART, proportional increases in CD4 cell counts did not differ between HCV-infected and HCV-uninfected individuals. Likewise, the short-term change in viral load did not differ.

CONCLUSION: In our cohort, HCV did not increase the risk of death or AIDS-OI, and did not affect the early immunological or virological response to initial HAART. Clinicians should evaluate patients with HCV for other, manageable problems, including alcoholism and other viral hepatitis.

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