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Dig Dis Sci. 1996 Jun;41(6):1265-72.

Effect of human immunodeficiency virus infection on hepatitis C virus infection in hemophiliacs.

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Department of Medicine, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


Chronic liver disease due to hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major problem in hemophiliacs. Recent reports suggested that hemophiliacs coinfected with hepatitis C virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have an increased incidence of liver failure but the mechanism of accelerated liver injury is not clear. We tested plasma from 100 hemophiliacs for anti-HCV by second generation ELISA, anti-HIV by EIA, and HCV RNA and HIV RNA by branched DNA and polymerase chain reaction assays to determine if hemophiliacs coinfected with HCV and HIV have higher HCV RNA levels and more active liver disease. Seventy-nine (79%) patients were anti-HCV positive, of whom 85% were HCV RNA positive. None of the anti-HCV-negative patients had detectable HCV RNA in plasma. Forty-two (42%) patients were anti-HIV positive, of whom 47% had detectable HIV RNA. All the anti-HIV-positive patients were also anti-HCV positive. The prevalence of both anti-HCV and anti-HIV increased significantly with age. There was no difference in HCV RNA levels between anti-HIV-positive and anti-HIV-negative patients (mean: 21 +/- 4 vs 18 +/- 5 Meq/ml), although HCV RNA levels were significantly higher in anti-HIV-positive patients with CD4 counts < 200/mm3 (P = 0.008). There was an inverse correlation between HCV RNA levels and CD4 counts but no correlation was found between HCV RNA and serum aminotransferase levels. We found a high prevalence of HCV and HIV coinfection in our hemophiliacs. Hepatitis C virus replication appears to be increased in patients with severe immunodeficiency secondary to progressive HIV infection. However, there was no correlation between HCV RNA and serum ALT level, suggesting that HCV is not directly cytopathic.

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