People infected with the HIV who also have alcohol problems are negatively affected by coinfection with hepatitis C virus, according to findings reported in the June issue of Alcoholism: Clinical Experimental Research. The issue is important for specialists to watch in patients, since an estimated 15% to 30% of HIVers in the United States and Europe are coinfected with HCV.
Researchers studying 396 HIV patients with alcohol problems'50% who were also coinfected with HCV'found a significant association between coinfection with HCV and lower CD4 cell counts among patients taking antiretroviral therapy. Says the study's senior author, Jeffrey Samet of the Boston University School of Public Health and Boston Medical Center: 'Our results suggest that HCV infection may adversely impact HIV-related immune reconstitution. If this is true, additional improvement in HIV outcomes may be achieved by effective treatment of HCV infection in patients who are adherent to antiretrovirals.'