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J Viral Hepat. 2013 Oct;20(10):715-24. doi: 10.1111/jvh.12101. Epub 2013 May 3.

Effect of hepatitis C virus on immunological and virological responses in HIV-infected patients initiating highly active antiretroviral therapy: a meta-analysis.

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Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Athens, Greece.


Co-infection of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is rather common. In the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), viral hepatitis could result in adverse outcomes in HIV+ patients. The current meta-analysis aims to evaluate the impact of HCV on immunological and virological responses after HAART initiation in HIV/HCV co-infected individuals by synthesizing the existing scientific evidence. A comprehensive search of electronic databases was performed. Eligible studies were analysed using univariate and multivariate meta-analytic methods. Totally, 21 studies involving 22533 individuals were eligible. The estimated summary difference in CD4 cell counts increase between HIV and HIV/HCV co-infected subjects after 3-12 months on HAART was 34.86 cells/mm(3) [95% confidence interval (CI): 16.82-52.89]. The difference was more prominent in patients with baseline CD4 counts below 350 cells/mm(3) (38.97, 95% CI: 20.00-57.93) and attenuated 2 years later (13.43, 95% CI: 0.83-26.04). The analysis of ratio measures yielded similar findings. The virological control remained unaffected by the presence of HCV (adjusted Hazard Ratio for co-infected patients vs those with HIV alone: 0.99, 95% CI: 0.91-1.07). The bivariate meta-analytic method confirmed the results of the univariate approaches. This meta-analysis supports the adverse effect of HCV on immune recovery of HIV+ patients initiating HAART, especially of those with initially impaired immunologic status. Although this effect diminishes over time, early administration of HAART in the setting of co-infection seems to be justified.


HCV; HIV; antiretroviral treatment; immunological response; virological response

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