Spontaneous viral clearance, viral load, and genotype distribution of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in HIV-infected patients with anti-HCV antibodies in Europe

Vincent Soriano, Amanda Mocroft, Juergen Rockstroh, Bruno Ledergerber, Brygida Knysz, Saulius Chaplinskas, Lars Peters, Anders Karlsson, Christine Katlama, Carlos Toro, Bernd Kupfer, Martin Vogel, Jens Lundgren et al.
Journal of Infectious Diseases 2008 November 1, 198 (9): 1337-44

BACKGROUND: Variables influencing serum hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA levels and genotype distribution in individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are not well known, nor are factors determining spontaneous clearance after exposure to HCV in this population.

METHODS: All HCV antibody (Ab)-positive patients with HIV infection in the EuroSIDA cohort who had stored samples were tested for serum HCV RNA, and HCV genotyping was done for subjects with viremia. Logistic regression was used to identify variables associated with spontaneous HCV clearance and HCV genotype 1.

RESULTS: Of 1940 HCV Ab-positive patients, 1496 (77%) were serum HCV RNA positive. Injection drug users (IDUs) were less likely to have spontaneously cleared HCV than were homosexual men (20% vs. 39%; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.36 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 0.24-0.53]), whereas patients positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) were more likely to have spontaneously cleared HCV than were those negative for HBsAg (43% vs. 21%; aOR, 2.91 [95% CI, 1.94-4.38]). Of patients with HCV viremia, 786 (53%) carried HCV genotype 1, and 53 (4%), 440 (29%), and 217 (15%) carried HCV genotype 2, 3, and 4, respectively. A greater HCV RNA level was associated with a greater chance of being infected with HCV genotype 1 (aOR, 1.60 per 1 log higher [95% CI, 1.36-1.88]).

CONCLUSIONS: More than three-quarters of the HIV- and HCV Ab-positive patients in EuroSIDA showed active HCV replication. Viremia was more frequent in IDUs and, conversely, was less common in HBsAg-positive patients. Of the patients with HCV viremia analyzed, 53% were found to carry HCV genotype 1, and this genotype was associated with greater serum HCV RNA levels.

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