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Human immunodeficiency virus–hepatitis C coinfection: swapping new problems for newer ones

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Recent successes in HIV therapy have uncovered other health problems for HIV-infected individuals. Hepatitis C has become an especially significant problem, partly due to its faster progression in an immunocompromised setting. In addition, the higher viral loads in coinfected patients likely result in more efficient perinatal and perhaps even sexual transmission. Therapy has largely been neglected, despite data suggesting its efficacy in HIV–HCV coinfected patients. Studies of combination interferon and ribavirin studies are lacking, although underway. A major concern is the potential inactivation of certain thymidine analogues by ribavirin. Some antiretroviral therapies, such as ritonavir, indinavir and nevirapine, may enhance liver toxicity in coinfected patients and should be avoided if possible. The role of chronic low-grade liver function abnormalities remains uncertain and requires further investigation. (Intern Med J 2001; 31: 418–421)

Keywords: coinfection; hepatitis C virus; human immunodeficiency virus; interferon; ribavirin

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: September 1, 2001


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