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Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2007 Nov;2(6):460-5. doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e3282f11906.

The burden of HIV and hepatitis C virus coinfection.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.



Persons with HIV are frequently coinfected with hepatitis C virus. We review recent data on the epidemiology and natural history of hepatitis C in HIV-infected persons.


One-quarter of persons with HIV in Europe and the USA also have hepatitis C, but its prevalence in other areas is under 10%. Outbreaks of acute hepatitis C among men having sex with men have been described in Europe. Hepatitis C is the cause of more than three-quarters of liver-related deaths in HIV-seropositive individuals; however, liver-related morbidity and mortality are declining or stable in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy. The association between hepatitis C virus coinfection and non-liver-related morbidity and mortality is still controversial. HIV-induced immune depression is strongly associated with worse liver disease, but it still does not support an earlier initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy in coinfected subjects.


Screening and management of hepatitis C virus coinfection should be mandatory in persons with HIV, especially in Europe and the USA, where prevention of blood exposure should also be pursued in patients with sexual risk behaviour. The results of ongoing randomized controlled trials are needed before recommending earlier initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy in coinfected persons.

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