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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Nov;5(11):1321-1328.e7.

Effect of human immunodeficiency virus and antiretrovirals on outcomes of hepatitis C: a systematic review from an epidemiologic perspective.

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Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston, Texas, USA.



We systematically reviewed the literature examining the association of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) with liver disease in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.


PubMed was searched for studies examining hepatic fibrosis, cirrhosis, decompensated liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver-related death. Thirty-nine reports (describing 34 unique studies) met inclusion criteria. Information was abstracted on study design, sampling frame, inclusion/exclusion criteria, sample size, results, and covariates used for adjustment. Because of the heterogeneity among study designs, a meta-analysis was not conducted.


Nine of the 12 cross-sectional studies showed a statistically significant association between HIV co-infection and fibrosis or cirrhosis, whereas 7 retrospective cohort studies were inconsistent. Six studies examined decompensated liver disease as the outcome: 5 of these found a significantly increased risk in patients with HIV co-infection. The 7 studies examining liver-related death showed a trend toward an association with HIV co-infection, although only 4 were statistically significant. Four studies examined the effect of HIV on hepatocellular carcinoma, 2 of which found no association. Of 10 studies that investigated the effect of ART on the risk of liver disease, half reported a significant protective association.


HIV co-infection is associated with an increased risk of advanced liver disease in hepatitis C virus-infected patients. Data on hepatocellular carcinoma are sparse, but an association is plausible given the increased risk of advanced liver disease. In contrast, data for an effect of ART are plentiful, but findings are inconsistent. More robust studies are needed on this topic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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