An international study with nearly 900 patients co-infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) has shown that HCV can be treated effectively and safely, without compromising the patient’s HIV therapy.
Currently, HCV and resulting end-stage liver disease is the major cause of hospitalization and death in the more than one-third of HIV patients who are co-infected with HCV. While potent anti-viral therapies have prolonged the lives of HIV patients, HCV has emerged as the leading cause of liver disease and death in co-infected patients. And yet, most co-infected individuals go undiagnosed and untreated for their hepatitis.
Published in the July 29, 2004 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, the study found that a combination therapy with peginterferon alfa-2a weekly injections plus oral ribavirin at a fixed 800 mg daily, achieved an overall 40 percent sustained virological response to HCV – the highest ever reported in a trial of co-infected patients. At the same time, investigators determined that the HCV treatment did not interfere with the effectiveness of HIV drugs.
Sue Pondrom | EurekAlert!
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