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Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Modifies The Natural History Of Chronic Parenterally-acquired Hepatitis C With An Unusually Rapid Progression To Cirrhosis.
Published 1997 · Medicine
BACKGROUND/AIMS To investigate the possible role of HIV infection in the natural history of chronic parenterally-acquired hepatitis C. METHODS A multicenter cross-sectional study was performed in 547 patients with chronic parenterally-acquired hepatitis C with or without HIV infection (116 HIV-positive and 431 HIV-negative). Approximate duration of HCV infection was estimated in all patients included, and histologic diagnoses made at different time intervals following HCV infection were analyzed in both groups. Factors related to serum HCV-RNA levels were also investigated. RESULTS Histologic findings were similar in liver biopsies from both HIV-infected and noninfected patients. However, in the first 10 years, 13 out of 87 (14.9%) HIV-positive subjects developed cirrhosis, in comparison with 7 out of 272 (2.6%) in the HIV-negative group (p < 0.01). Similar results were found in the first 5 and 15 years, respectively, and most of the HIV-negative patients with cirrhosis (42 out of 56) developed cirrhosis in a time interval longer than 15 years. Consequently, mean interval from estimated time of HCV infection to cirrhosis was significantly longer in HIV-negative than HIV-positive patients (23.2 vs. 6.9 years; p < 0.001). Chronic active hepatitis (with and without cirrhosis) and long duration of HCV infection were significantly associated with higher HCV load (p < 0.05). Finally, HIV-positive patients with CD4+ cell counts > 500 cells/ml showed a lower HCV load than those with < 500 cells/ml (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS HIV infection modifies the natural history of chronic parenterally-acquired hepatitis C with an unusually rapid progression to cirrhosis. HIV-related immunodeficiency may be a determinant of higher hepatitis C viremia levels and more severe liver damage.