Risk of hepatitis-related mortality increased among hepatitis C virus/HIV-coinfected drug users compared with drug users infected only with hepatitis C virus: a 20-year prospective study.
Smit C., van den Berg C., Geskus R., Berkhout B., Coutinho R., Prins M.
BACKGROUND: Progression of liver-related disease is accelerated in individuals coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Because the life expectancy of HIV-infected drug users (DUs) improved after the widespread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), HCV-related death is likely to become more important. To disentangle the effects of HCV and HIV, we compared the overall and cause-specific mortality between HCV/HIV-infected DUs and HCV-infected DUs and DUs without HCV or HIV, followed up between 1985 and 2006. METHODS: A total of 1295 participants in the Amsterdam Cohort Study were included. Cause-specific hazard ratios (CHRs) were estimated for the eras before (<1997) and since HAART (> or =1997) within and among serologic groups. RESULTS: The risk of dying decreased for most causes of death > or =1997; this decrease was not the same for the different serologic groups. Among HCV/HIV-coinfected DUs, the risk of hepatitis/liver-related death did not substantially change over time (CHR = 0.87, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.21 to 3.58), whereas the risk of AIDS-related mortality decreased. Compared with DUs solely infected with HCV, HCV/HIV-coinfected DUs were at increased risk of dying from hepatitis/liver-related disease (CHR = 7.15, 95% CI: 1.98 to 25.8), other natural causes (CHR = 3.09, 95% CI: 1.41 to 6.79), and nonnatural causes (CHR = 2.30, 95% CI: 1.07 to 4.95) in the HAART era. CONCLUSIONS: HCV/HIV-coinfected DUs remain at increased risk of dying from hepatitis/liver-related death in the HAART era compared with HCV-monoinfected DUs. This risk did not change in HCV/HIV-coinfected DUs after HAART was introduced, suggesting that in the HAART era, HIV continues to accelerate HCV disease progression. Efforts should be made to establish effective treatment for HCV infection in HCV/HIV-coinfected individuals.