HIV/hepatitis C patients 80 percent more likely to develop cirrhosis
The study, which was published in Tuesday's issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, analyzed data from 4.280 patients with HIV and chronic hepatitis C co-infections who were under antiretroviral therapy and 6,079 patients who only had hepatitis C infections and were receiving care between 1997 and 2010.
The researchers found that decompensated cirrhosis was 80 percent more common in patients with co-infections, compared to hepatitis C-only patients. Patients with co-infections who had their HIV under control through antiretroviral therapy still showed a 60 percent higher rate of serious liver disease, compared to hepatitis-C only patients.
"Our results suggest that serious consideration should be given to initiating hepatitis C treatment in patients co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C-particularly among those with advanced liver fibrosis or cirrhosis-in order to try to reduce the risk of serious, potentially life-threatening liver complications," Penn Center for AIDS Research Investigator, Penn Assistant Professor and Lead Author Vincent Lo Re III said. "By taking action sooner, we may be able to reduce the risk of advanced liver disease in co-infected patients."
The study was the largest analysis of data to compare HIV/hepatitis C co-infected patients to patients with only hepatitis C infections. The study found that decompensation liver disease was most common among non-black patients with HIV infection, advanced liver fibrosis, diabetes and severe anemia.