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HIV + HCV = A Bad Combination

HIV + HCV = A Bad Combination


Does coinfection with HIV speed hepatitis C'related liver disease? Previous studies disagree as to whether this happens, with some research suggesting anti-HIV drugs may hold progression rates at normal levels. But now French researchers report in the Journal of Viral Hepatitis that their analysis of 1,000 hepatitis C patients shows HIV coinfection does cause rapid liver disease progression, even in the presence of effective anti-HIV treatment. Those coinfected with HIV had twice the rate of advanced liver fibrosis or cirrhosis as their HIV-negative peers (39% compared to 18%), they report. Since all of the HIVers had relatively high CD4-cell counts and 88% were on successful antiretroviral regimens, the researchers conclude that HIV-HCV coinfection itself is a risk factor for rapid liver damage. As such, HIV-HCV coinfected adults should speak with their physicians about hepatitis therapy and other ways to reduce risks for liver damage.

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