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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 12, Issue 3, Pages 157-163

Characteristics of Hepatitis C Virus Infection in HIV-Infected People

Curtis L Cooper, Andrew D Badley, and Jonathan B Angel

Division of Infectious Diseases, Ottawa Hospital General Campus, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Knowledge pertaining to hepatitis C virus (HCV)/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection is currently incomplete or conflicting. Several points are well studied, however. Plasma HCV RNA levels are higher in matched HIV-infected people than in HIV-seronegative control subjects and are inversely correlated with CD4+ T lymphocyte counts. HCV genotype does not appear to influence this value. Co-infected individuals develop histological and clinical features of HCV liver disease more rapidly than HIV-seronegative patients. Co-infected individuals appear to respond to interferon-alpha therapy equally as well as HIV-seronegative HCV-infected adults, but minimal information exists regarding the efficacy and toxicity of combination HCV therapy (interferon-alpha plus ribavirin) in this population. Adverse consequences of highly active antiretroviral therapy in co-infected patients include hepatic toxicity and, in a minority of patients, an 'immune restoration syndrome'. It is unclear whether long term, highly active antiretroviral therapy positively or negatively influences the natural history of HCV infection.