The preferred treatment for hepatitis C, peg-interferon and ribavirin, is safe for people who are also infected with HIV, according to a new study in the July 29 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Moreover, this treatment proved superior for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in HIV-coinfected persons when compared with the previously accepted treatment, standard interferon and ribavirin.
The study compared the effectiveness of two forms of interferon: a once-weekly dose of peg-interferon and standard interferon taken three times weekly. Peg-interferon with ribavirin is currently the approved treatment for hepatitis C in persons without HIV. Prior to this study, limited data were available on the benefit and safety of peg-interferon and ribavirin in HIV-infected people.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), both parts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIAIDs Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group conducted the study at 21 research centers in the United States.
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