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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2002 Oct 1;31(2):154-62.

Hepatitis C virus viremia in HIV-infected individuals with negative HCV antibody tests.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Iowa City Veterans Administration Medical Center, University of Iowa, College of Medicine, 52242, USA.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) viremia may occur in persons without detectable HCV antibodies and has been reported in as many as 5.5% of HIV-positive persons. To better characterize serosilent HCV infection, the authors prospectively tested 131 HIV-positive persons and 102 HIV-negative control subjects with diabetes for the presence of HCV antibody (Ab) and HCV RNA. Thirty of 31 HCV Ab-positive (AbP) HIV-positive people tested positive for HCV RNA as did both HCV AbP, HIV-negative control subjects. Similarly, none of the 100 HIV-negative, HCV Ab-negative (AbN) control subjects was HCV RNA positive (p<.001). In contrast, 19 of 100 HIV-positive, HCV AbN persons met stringent criteria for HCV viremia, and 9 of these 19 people were HCV RNA positive when tested by a commercially available HCV RNA detection method. The mean duration of HCV viremia in HCV AbN people was 26.8 months (range, 1-99 months). None of the subjects developed HCV antibody during the study. The HIV-positive, HCV AbP, and RNA-positive group was significantly more likely to have acquired HIV parenterally (p<.001), have higher initial CD4 counts (p=.029), and have higher ALT values than the HCV AbN group (p<.002). In summary, HCV infection appears to occur more frequently among HIV-infected, HCV-seronegative persons than appreciated, especially if HIV acquisition was through sexual as opposed to parenteral risk factors and was associated with a lower initial CD4 count and lower ALT values.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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