Early initiation of antiretroviral therapy: the current best way to reduce liver-related deaths in HIV/hepatitis C virus-coinfected patients.

Shafran SD.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2007 Apr 15;44(5):551-6. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31803151c7.

Approximately 25% to 35% of HIV-infected persons in developed countries are coinfected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV liver disease is accelerated by HIV coinfection, especially at low CD4 cell counts. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) dramatically reduces HIV-related mortality, and liver disease has emerged as a major cause of death in HIV/HCV-coinfected persons. Anti-HCV therapy with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin can cure HCV infection in up to 40% of coinfected patients; however, only approximately 10% of coinfected patients are considered candidates. Hence, HCV therapy cures approximately 4% of coinfected patients. Eleven cohort studies have shown that HAART is associated with a reduced rate of progression of HCV liver disease, and 4 of these studies have demonstrated a reduction in liver-related mortality. Although offering HCV therapy to the few eligible HIV/HCV-coinfected patients is important, early initiation of HAART in coinfected patients has a greater public health impact in reducing liver-related mortality than in curing HCV infection in approximately 4% of these patients.

PMID: 17224846

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.