PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (741411)

Clipboard (0)
None

Related Articles

1.  Blood-Borne Hepatitis in Opiate Users in Iran: A Poor Outlook and Urgent Need to Change Nationwide Screening Policy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82230.
Objective
Iran has the highest rate of opiate use worldwide. However, most opiate users are not screened for hepatitis virus infections. This study aimed to provide accurate, detailed data on the size of the opiate user population at risk of developing these infections.
Method
This seroprevalence study was conducted in the city of Shiraz, southern Iran. All participants were screened for HBV, HCV and HIV infection. The data were analyzed with SPSS.
Result
Among 569 participants, 233 (40.9%) were injection drug users (IDU), 369 (64.8%) were heterosexual, 84 (14.7%) were bisexual and 15 (2.6%) were homosexual. One hundred nine (19.1%) were HCV antibody-positive, 18 (3.1%) were HBS antigen-positive, 72 (12.6%) were HBc antibody-positive and 23 (4%) were HIV-positive. Among IDU compared to non-IDU, positivity rates for HBS antigen (5.5 vs 1.4%), HBc antibody (22.7 vs 5.6%), HCV antibody (40.3 vs 4.4%) and HIV (7.7 vs 1.4%) were higher (P < 0.05). Most patients with HBV (80.7%) and HCV infection (83.4%) were HIV-negative. In the cumulative analysis, only history of imprisonment was a statistically significant determinant of infection by HCV or HBV in opiate users.
Conclusion
The current policy of screening only HIV-positive drug users for HBV and HCV in Iran misses most cases of HBV and HCV infection. We therefore recommend urgent revision of the nationwide protocol by the Ministry of Health in Iran to implement routine screening of all opiate users and especially IDU for these viruses, regardless of their HIV status.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082230
PMCID: PMC3846675  PMID: 24312645
2.  Testosterone and Abnormal Glucose Metabolism in an Inner-City Cohort 
Journal of men's health  2012;9(3):10.1016/j.jomh.2012.03.010.
Background
Low testosterone (T) has been associated with insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus (DM) among men in population-based studies. These studies included racially diverse men, but did not target for inclusion individuals with opiate use, Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection, which disproportionately affect inner-city populations and may alter the relationship between T and DM.
Methods
We studied the association between free T (FT) and abnormal glucose metabolism among male participants in the Study of HIV, Injection Drug Use, Nutrition, and Endocrinology (SHINE). We used logistic regression to examine the relationship between log FT and both insulin resistance and prediabetes/DM.
Results
Of 175 men, 43 (24.6%) had low FT (FT < 52 pg/mL). There were more men in the low FT group on methadone maintenance (39.5% v. 15.2%, p=.001), but there was no difference in FT by HIV or HCV status. Overall, 23 men (13.1%) had prediabetes/DM, which was unrelated to FT (OR of prediabetes/DM for each log increase in FT = 0.56, 95% CI 0.13–2.41). FT was also not related to insulin resistance.
Conclusions
The prevalence of hypogonadism was high in this inner-city cohort and was associated with methadone use. However, low FT was not related to insulin resistance or prediabetes/DM. Continued work to identify diabetes risk factors among inner-city populations will help determine targets for intervention to reduce diabetes incidence. Treatment trials of testosterone to reduce diabetes among hypogonadal men may be of particular relevance to opiate users, many of whom are hypogonadal.
doi:10.1016/j.jomh.2012.03.010
PMCID: PMC3809764  PMID: 24174995
Testosterone; Diabetes; Insulin Resistance; Methadone
3.  A Novel Diagnostic Target in the Hepatitis C Virus Genome 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(2):e1000031.
Background
Detection and quantification of hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA is integral to diagnostic and therapeutic regimens. All molecular assays target the viral 5′-noncoding region (5′-NCR), and all show genotype-dependent variation of sensitivities and viral load results. Non-western HCV genotypes have been under-represented in evaluation studies. An alternative diagnostic target region within the HCV genome could facilitate a new generation of assays.
Methods and Findings
In this study we determined by de novo sequencing that the 3′-X-tail element, characterized significantly later than the rest of the genome, is highly conserved across genotypes. To prove its clinical utility as a molecular diagnostic target, a prototype qualitative and quantitative test was developed and evaluated multicentrically on a large and complete panel of 725 clinical plasma samples, covering HCV genotypes 1–6, from four continents (Germany, UK, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore). To our knowledge, this is the most diversified and comprehensive panel of clinical and genotype specimens used in HCV nucleic acid testing (NAT) validation to date. The lower limit of detection (LOD) was 18.4 IU/ml (95% confidence interval, 15.3–24.1 IU/ml), suggesting applicability in donor blood screening. The upper LOD exceeded 10−9 IU/ml, facilitating viral load monitoring within a wide dynamic range. In 598 genotyped samples, quantified by Bayer VERSANT 3.0 branched DNA (bDNA), X-tail-based viral loads were highly concordant with bDNA for all genotypes. Correlation coefficients between bDNA and X-tail NAT, for genotypes 1–6, were: 0.92, 0.85, 0.95, 0.91, 0.95, and 0.96, respectively; X-tail-based viral loads deviated by more than 0.5 log10 from 5′-NCR-based viral loads in only 12% of samples (maximum deviation, 0.85 log10). The successful introduction of X-tail NAT in a Brazilian laboratory confirmed the practical stability and robustness of the X-tail-based protocol. The assay was implemented at low reaction costs (US$8.70 per sample), short turnover times (2.5 h for up to 96 samples), and without technical difficulties.
Conclusion
This study indicates a way to fundamentally improve HCV viral load monitoring and infection screening. Our prototype assay can serve as a template for a new generation of viral load assays. Additionally, to our knowledge this study provides the first open protocol to permit industry-grade HCV detection and quantification in resource-limited settings.
Christian Drosten and colleagues develop, validate, and make openly available a prototype hepatitis C virus assay based on the conserved 3' X-tail element, with potential for clinical use in developing countries.
Editors' Summary
Background.
About 3% of the world's population (170 million people) harbor long-term (chronic) infections with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and about 3–4 million people are newly infected with this virus every year. HCV—a leading cause of chronic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)—is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person. Globally, the main routes of transmission are the use of unscreened blood for transfusions and the reuse of inadequately sterilized medical instruments, including needles. In affluent countries, where donated blood is routinely screened for the presence of HCV, most transmission is through needle sharing among drug users. The risk of sexual and mother-to-child transmission of HCV is low. Although HCV infection occasionally causes an acute (short-lived) illness characterized by tiredness and jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), most newly infected people progress to a symptom-free, chronic infection that can eventually cause liver cirrhosis (scarring) and liver cancer. HCV infections can be treated with a combination of two drugs called interferon and ribavirin, but these drugs are expensive and are ineffective in many patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
An effective way to limit the global spread of HCV might be to introduce routine screening of the blood that is used for transfusions in developing countries. In developed countries, HCV screening of blood donors use expensive, commercial “RT-PCR” assays to detect small amounts of HCV ribonucleic acid (RNA; HCV stores the information it needs to replicate itself—its genome—as a sequence of “ribonucleotides”). All the current HCV assays, which can also quantify the amount of viral RNA in the blood (the viral load) during treatment, detect a target sequence in the viral genome called the 5′-noncoding region (5′-NCR). However, there are several different HCV “genotypes” (strains). These genotypes vary in their geographical distribution and, even though the 5′-NCR sequence is very similar (highly conserved) in the common genotypes (HCV genotypes 1–6), the existing assays do not detect all the variants equally well. This shortcoming, together with their high cost, means that 5′-NCR RT-PCR assays are not ideal for use in many developing countries. In this study, the researchers identify an alternative diagnostic target sequence in the HCV genome—the 3′-X-tail element—and ask whether this sequence can be used to develop a new generation of tests for HCV infection that might be more appropriate for use in developing countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers determined the RNA sequence of the 3′-X-tail element in reference samples of the major HCV genotypes and showed that this region of the HCV genome is as highly conserved as the 5′-NCR. They then developed a prototype X-tail RT-PCR assay and tested its ability to detect small amounts of HCV and to measure viral load in genotype reference samples and in a large panel of HCV-infected blood samples collected in Germany, the UK, Brazil, South Africa, and Singapore. The new assay detected low levels of HCV RNA in all of the genotype reference samples and was also able to quantify high RNA concentrations. The viral load estimates it provided for the clinical samples agreed well with those obtained using a commercial assay irrespective of the sample's HCV genotype. Finally, the X-tail RT-PCR assay gave similar results to a standard assay at a fraction of the cost when used to measure viral loads in a Brazilian laboratory in an independent group of 127 patient samples collected in Brazil.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the HCV 3′-X-tail element could provide an alternative target for screening blood samples for HCV infection and for monitoring viral loads during treatment, irrespective of HCV genotype. In addition, they suggest that X-tail RT-PCR assays may be stable and robust enough for use in laboratories in emerging countries. Overall, these findings should stimulate the development of a new generation of clinical HCV assays that, because the protocol used in the X-tail assay is freely available, could improve blood safety in developing countries by providing a cheap and effective alternative to existing proprietary HCV assays.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000031.
The World Health Organization has a fact sheet about hepatitis C (in English and French)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on hepatitis C for the public and for health professionals (information is also available in Spanish)
The US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides basic information on hepatitis C (in English and Spanish)
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on hepatitis C; MedlinePlus also provides links to further information on hepatitis C (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000031
PMCID: PMC2637920  PMID: 19209955
4.  Association Of Hepatitis C With Markers Of Hemostasis In HIV-Infected and Uninfected Women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
Coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is common. HIV infection and treatment are associated with hypercoaguability; thrombosis in HCV is under-investigated. Proposed markers of hemostasis in HIV include higher D-dimer, Factor VIII% and Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 (PAI-1Ag), and lower total Protein S% (TPS), but have not been examined in HCV. We assessed the independent association of HCV with these four measures of hemostasis in a multicenter, prospective study of HIV: the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
We randomly selected 450 HCV-infected (anti-HCV+ with detectable plasma HCV RNA) and 450 HCV-uninfected (anti-HCV−) women. HCV was the main exposure of interest in regression models.
443 HCV+ and 425 HCV− women were included. HCV+ women had higher Factor VIII% (124.4% ±3.9 vs. 101.8% ±3.7, p <0.001) and lower TPS (75.7% ±1.1 vs. 84.3% ±1.1, <0.001) than HCV−, independent of HIV infection and viral load; there was little difference in PAI-1Ag or log10 D-dimer. After adjustment for confounders, these inferences remained. HIV infection was independently associated with higher Factor VIII% and log10 D-dimer, and lower TPS.
HCV was independently associated with higher Factor VIII% and lower TPS consistent with hypercoaguability. Higher Factor VIII % and D-dimer and lower total Protein S % were also strongly associated with HIV infection and levels of HIV viremia, independent of HCV infection. Further investigation is needed to determine if there is increased thrombotic risk from HCV. Studies examining hemostasis markers in HIV infection must also assess the contribution of HCV infection.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31827fdd61
PMCID: PMC3652915  PMID: 23221984
5.  Impaired Hepatitis C Virus-Specific T Cell Responses and Recurrent Hepatitis C Virus in HIV Coinfection 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e492.
Background
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific T cell responses are critical for spontaneous resolution of HCV viremia. Here we examined the effect of a lymphotropic virus, HIV-1, on the ability of coinfected patients to maintain spontaneous control of HCV infection.
Methods and Findings
We measured T cell responsiveness by lymphoproliferation and interferon-γ ELISPOT in a large cohort of HCV-infected individuals with and without HIV infection. Among 47 HCV/HIV-1-coinfected individuals, spontaneous control of HCV was associated with more frequent HCV-specific lymphoproliferative (LP) responses (35%) compared to coinfected persons who exhibited chronic HCV viremia (7%, p = 0.016), but less frequent compared to HCV controllers who were not HIV infected (86%, p = 0.003). Preservation of HCV-specific LP responses in coinfected individuals was associated with a higher nadir CD4 count (r2 = 0.45, p < 0.001) and the presence and magnitude of the HCV-specific CD8+ T cell interferon-γ response (p = 0.0014). During long-term follow-up, recurrence of HCV viremia occurred in six of 25 coinfected individuals with prior control of HCV, but in 0 of 16 HIV-1-negative HCV controllers (p = 0.03, log rank test). In these six individuals with recurrent HCV viremia, the magnitude of HCV viremia following recurrence inversely correlated with the CD4 count at time of breakthrough (r = −0.94, p = 0.017).
Conclusions
These results indicate that HIV infection impairs the immune response to HCV—including in persons who have cleared HCV infection—and that HIV-1-infected individuals with spontaneous control of HCV remain at significant risk for a second episode of HCV viremia. These findings highlight the need for repeat viral RNA testing of apparent controllers of HCV infection in the setting of HIV-1 coinfection and provide a possible explanation for the higher rate of HCV persistence observed in this population.
HIV infection impairs the immune response to HCV. Even individuals who have cleared HCV infection remain at significant risk for a second episode of HCV viremia.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Because of shared transmission routes (contaminated needles, contaminated blood products, and, to a lesser extent, unprotected sex), a large proportion of HIV-infected individuals (estimates range between 25% and 33%) are also infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). In most but not all individuals infected with HCV, the virus infection is chronic and causes liver disease that can eventually lead to liver failure. Disease progress is slow; it often takes decades until infected individuals develop serious liver disease. In people infected with both HCV and HIV, however, liver disease caused by HCV often appears sooner and progresses faster. As highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and prophylaxis of opportunistic infections increase the life span of persons living with HIV, HCV-related liver disease has become a major cause of hospital admissions and deaths among HIV-infected persons.
Why Was This Study Done?
A sizable minority of people who are infected with HCV manage to control the virus and never get liver disease, and scientists have found that these people somehow mounted a strong immune response against the hepatitis C virus. CD4+ T cells, the very immune cells that are infected and destroyed by HIV, play an important role in this immune response. The goal of the present study was to better understand how infection with HIV compromises the specific immune response to HCV and thereby the control of HCV disease progression.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited four groups of patients, 94 in total, all of whom were infected with HCV. Two groups comprised patients who were infected with HIV as well as HCV, with either high or undetectable levels of HCV (30 patients in each group). The two other groups included patients not infected with HIV, either with high or undetectable levels of HCV (17 patients in each group). The researchers focused on the individuals who, despite coinfection with HIV, were able to control their HCV infection. They found that those individuals managed to maintain relatively high levels of CD4+ T cells that specifically recognize HCV. However, a quarter of these patients (six out of 25) failed to keep HCV levels down for the entire observation period of up to 2.5 years; their blood levels of HCV rose substantially, most likely due to recurrence of the previously suppressed virus (the researchers could not be certain that none of the patients had become infected again after a new exposure to HCV-contaminated blood, but there was no evidence that they had engaged in risky behavior). The rise of HCV levels in the blood of the relapsed patients coincided with a drop in overall CD4+ T cell numbers. Following relapse in these individuals, HCV did not return to undetectable levels during the study. During the same period none of the 16 HIV-uninfected people with controlled HCV infection experienced a recurrence of detectable HCV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Despite the relatively small numbers of patients, these results suggest that recurrence of HCV after initial control of the virus is more likely in people who are coinfected with HIV, and that HCV control is lost when CD4+ T cell counts fall. This is one more reason to test all HIV-positive patients for HCV coinfection. Coinfected patients, even those who seem to be controlling HCV and would not automatically receive HCV treatment, should be regularly tested for a rise of HCV levels. In addition, maintaining CD4+ T cells at a high level might be particularly important for those patients, which means that doctors might consider starting HAART therapy earlier than is generally recommended for HIV-infected individuals. Additional studies are needed to support these recommendations, however, especially as this study did not follow the patients long enough to determine the consequences of the observed loss of control of HCV.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030492.
AIDS Treatment Data Network factsheet on HIV/HCV coinfection
US CDC factsheet on HIV/HCV coinfection
American Liver Foundation, information on HIV and HCV
MedlinePlus pages on HCV
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030492
PMCID: PMC1705826  PMID: 17194190
6.  The Global Spread of Hepatitis C Virus 1a and 1b: A Phylodynamic and Phylogeographic Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(12):e1000198.
Using phylodynamic and phylogeographic methods, Angelos Hatzakis and colleagues find that the global spread of Hepatitis C virus coincided with widespread use of transfused blood and with the expansion of intravenous drug use.
Background
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is estimated to affect 130–180 million people worldwide. Although its origin is unknown, patterns of viral diversity suggest that HCV genotype 1 probably originated from West Africa. Previous attempts to estimate the spatiotemporal parameters of the virus, both globally and regionally, have suggested that epidemic HCV transmission began in 1900 and grew steadily until the late 1980s. However, epidemiological data suggest that the expansion of HCV may have occurred after the Second World War. The aim of our study was to elucidate the timescale and route of the global spread of HCV.
Methods and Findings
We show that the rarely sequenced HCV region (E2P7NS2) is more informative for molecular epidemiology studies than the more commonly used NS5B region. We applied phylodynamic methods to a substantial set of new E2P7NS2 and NS5B sequences, together with all available global HCV sequences with information in both of these genomic regions, in order to estimate the timescale and nature of the global expansion of the most prevalent HCV subtypes, 1a and 1b. We showed that transmission of subtypes 1a and 1b “exploded” between 1940 and 1980, with the spread of 1b preceding that of 1a by at least 16 y (95% confidence interval 15–17). Phylogeographic analysis of all available NS5B sequences suggests that HCV subtypes 1a and 1b disseminated from the developed world to the developing countries.
Conclusions
The evolutionary rate of HCV appears faster than previously suggested. The global spread of HCV coincided with the widespread use of transfused blood and blood products and with the expansion of intravenous drug use but slowed prior to the wide implementation of anti-HCV screening. Differences in the transmission routes associated with subtypes 1a and 1b provide an explanation of the relatively earlier expansion of 1b. Our data show that the most plausible route of the HCV dispersal was from developed countries to the developing world.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
About 150 million people (3% of the world's population) harbor long-term (chronic) infections with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and about 3–4 million people become infected with this virus every year. HCV—a leading cause of chronic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)—is spread through contact with infected blood. Transmission routes include medical procedures (for example, transfusions with unscreened blood) and needle-sharing among intravenous drug users. This second transmission route is the most common one in developed countries where blood is now routinely screened before being used in transfusions. HCV infection can cause a short-lived illness characterized by tiredness and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), but most newly infected people progress to a symptom-free, chronic infection that can eventually cause liver cirrhosis (scarring) and liver cancer. HCV infections can be treated with a combination of two expensive drugs called interferon and ribavirin, but these drugs are ineffective in many patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
Noone knows for sure where HCV originated although there is some evidence that it appeared first in West Africa or Southeast Asia. It is also unclear when the current HCV epidemic began. In this study, the researchers try to elucidate both the timescale and route of the global spread of the HCV epidemic by analyzing the genome sequence of HCV samples collected at different times and places. HCV is a ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus. That is, it stores the information it needs to replicate itself—its genome—as a series of “ribonucleotides.” Like other RNA viruses, the HCV genome continually accumulates small changes (mutations) and, over time, HCV has evolved into several different “genotypes,” each of which has several distinct subtypes. Furthermore, the viruses within a single subtype have subtly different genomes. By analyzing this viral diversity using complex “phylodynamic” and “phylogeographic” methods, scientists can build up a picture of how HCV has evolved in populations and how it has spread to reach its current geographical distribution.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
By examining the genomes of HCV samples collected between 1994 and 2006 at the Athens University Medical School (Greece), the researchers first defined a variable region of HCV called E2P7NS2 that is more informative for phylodynamic studies than the NS5B region that has been used in previous studies. They then retrieved the sequences of both regions for subtype 1a and 1b samples collected over the past 20–30 years in the Los Alamos HCV sequence database; HCV subtypes 1a and 1b cause 60% of global HCV infections. The researchers' phylodynamic analyses of these globally representative sequences (collected in the USA, Germany, Switzerland, and Greece) indicate that the transmission of HCV subtype 1a occurred at a low rate from 1906 until the 1960s, at which time there was an explosive increase in its transmission rate. Similarly, subtype 1b transmission occurred at a low rate from 1922 until the late 1940s but then increased exponentially. From 1980 onwards, the prevalence of both subtypes stabilized at a high level. The researchers' phylogeographic analyses (which considered 1a and1b NS5B sequences collected in 21 and 29 countries, respectively) suggest that HCV subtypes 1a and 1b may have spread from the developed to the developing world.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the epidemic of HCV subtype 1b began in the 1940s when the use of transfused blood and blood products became widespread whereas the start of the subtype 1a epidemic coincided with the expansion of injected drug use that occurred in the 1960s. The findings also suggest that the transmission rates of both subtypes may have slowed before the widespread implementation of HCV screening in the early 1990s, possibly because the medical community was aware by then of the general risks associated with blood contamination. Finally, these findings provide new insights into how the HCV epidemic spread around the world and suggest that HCV may be evolving faster than previously thought. However, because this study relied on a small number of samples collected over a short time period, its findings need to be confirmed in larger studies.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000198.
The World Health Organization provides detailed information about hepatitis C and HCV
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on hepatitis C for the public and for health professionals (information is also available in Spanish)
The US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides basic information on hepatitis C (in English and Spanish)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources on hepatitis C
The Los Alamos HCV database is available
The US National Center for Biotechnology Information provides a science primer on how scientists reconstruct evolutionary pathways from sequence information
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000198
PMCID: PMC2795363  PMID: 20041120
7.  Six-month follow-up of Iranian women in methadone treatment: drug use, social functioning, crime, and HIV and HCV seroincidence 
Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation  2012;3(Suppl 1):37-43.
Background
In general, information about women who use drugs comes from studies performed in the West. Whether women in countries such as Iran are likely to enter drug treatment or how they will respond is not known.
Purpose
To examine the short-term impact of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) on drug use, dependence, social functioning, crime, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) risk behavior and seroincidence in female drug users in Iran.
Methods
Women were eligible for inclusion in the study if they were assessed as dependent on opiates according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, tenth revision (ICD-10). The sample comprised 78 female heroin or opium users who attended the Persepolis women’s drug treatment clinic in Tehran between 2007 and 2008. Participants were followed up in 2009/2010. Heroin and the use of other drugs, social functioning, involvement in crime, and involvement in HIV and HCV risk behavior were measured by self-report. The prevalence and incidence of HIV and HCV were measured by serology and self-report.
Findings
Of the 78 women recruited, 40 were followed up, and this occurred approximately 7 months later. One in four women reported a history of drug injection. At follow-up there were significant reductions in self-reported heroin use on ICD-10 dependence scores. Subjects with more severe drug dependence at baseline were significantly more likely to be criminally active than less severely dependent subjects. Baseline prevalence for HIV and HCV was 5% and 24%, respectively. At follow-up, no one had acquired HIV infection, but one participant had acquired HCV, giving an incidence rate of 7.1 per 100 person-years.
Conclusion
This research provides the first evidence that Iranian female drug users can enter MMT and respond well. Within a few months of entering MMT, improvements occurred in heroin use, levels of dependence, social functioning, and HIV risk behavior. While the incidence of blood-borne viral infections was low, there was a serious risk of HIV transmission among this cohort and also to participants’ needle and sexual contacts. In a country with high levels of drug use, the high levels of HCV among female drug users require more women to enter drug treatment if an HIV epidemic is to be avoided. Many participants had a chronic drug problem and had had little or no previous exposure to MMT. The introduction or expansion of women-only drug treatment services is urgently needed in order to engage more women in treatment.
doi:10.2147/SAR.S21349
PMCID: PMC3889184  PMID: 24474875
women drug users; Iran; drug treatment clinic; risk behavior
8.  Opioids and HIV/HCV Infection 
Since human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) share the same modes of transmission and common risk factors for infection, co-infections with HIV and HCV are frequently found in injection drug users (IDUs). IDUs represent one of the largest reservoirs of HIV as well as HCV in the United States. These two pathogens are also likely to be responsible for the highest infectious disease morbidity and mortality rates among IDUs. IDUs frequently involve the abuse of heroin, the most common abused opiate. Opiates have been suggested to have a cofactor role in the immunopathogenesis of HIV disease, as they have the potential to compromise host immune responses and enhances microbial infections. Although in vitro studies have yielded relatively agreeable data that morphine, the active metabolite of heroin, exacerbate HIV infection/replication, epidemiologic studies as well as in vivo non-human primate investigations on the impact of opiate abuse on HIV disease progression have yielded the conflicting data. Given immunomodulation and immunocompromising effect as well as demonstrated impact to enhance HIV replication in vitro, it is reasonable to believe that opiate abuse is a facilitator in HIV and/or HCV disease progression. However, much remain to be learned about the mechanisms of opiate-mediated broad influence on host immunity and viral expression. Thus, more extensive studies are needed in order to determine the effects of different conditions of opiate abuse and to define the understanding of the role of opiate in modulating HIV and/ or HCV disease progression.
doi:10.1007/s11481-011-9296-1
PMCID: PMC3937260  PMID: 21755286
Opioids; Heroin; Morphine; Methadone; HIV; HCV
9.  Kidney and liver organ transplantation in persons with human immunodeficiency virus 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of this analysis is to determine the effectiveness of solid organ transplantation in persons with end stage organ failure (ESOF) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV+)
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Patients with end stage organ failure who have been unresponsive to other forms of treatment eventually require solid organ transplantation. Similar to persons who are HIV negative (HIV−), persons living with HIV infection (HIV+) are at risk for ESOF from viral (e.g. hepatitis B and C) and non-viral aetiologies (e.g. coronary artery disease, diabetes, hepatocellular carcinoma). Additionally, HIV+ persons also incur risks of ESOF from HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN), accelerated liver damage from hepatitis C virus (HCV+), with which an estimated 30% of HIV positive (HIV+) persons are co-infected, and coronary artery disease secondary to antiretroviral therapy. Concerns that the need for post transplant immunosuppression and/or the interaction of immunosuppressive drugs with antiretroviral agents may accelerate the progression of HIV disease, as well as the risk of opportunistic infections post transplantation, have led to uncertainty regarding the overall benefit of transplantation among HIV+ patients. Moreover, the scarcity of donor organs and their use in a population where the clinical benefit of transplantation is uncertain has limited the availability of organ transplantation to persons living with ESOF and HIV.
With the development of highly active anti retroviral therapy (HAART), which has been available in Canada since 1997, there has been improved survival and health-related quality of life for persons living with HIV. HAART can suppress HIV replication, enhance immune function, and slow disease progression. HAART managed persons can now be expected to live longer than those in the pre-HAART era and as a result many will now experience ESOF well before they experience life-threatening conditions related to HIV infection. Given their improved prognosis and the burden of illness they may experience from ESOF, the benefit of solid organ transplantation for HIV+ patients needs to be reassessed.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
Research Questions
What are the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of solid organ transplantation in HIV+ persons with ESOF?
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on September 22, 2009 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 1996 to September 22, 2009.
Inclusion Criteria
Systematic review with or without a Meta analysis, RCT, Non-RCT with controls
HIV+ population undergoing solid organ transplantation
HIV+ population managed with HAART therapy
Controls include persons undergoing solid organ transplantation who are i) HIV− ii) HCV+ mono-infected, and iii) HIV+ persons with ESOF not transplanted.
Studies that completed and reported results of a Kaplan-Meier Survival Curve analysis.
Studies with a minimum (mean or medium) follow up of 1-year.
English language citations
Exclusion Criteria
Case reports and case series were excluded form this review.
Outcomes of Interest
i) Risk of Death after transplantation
ii) Death censored graft survival (DCGS)
iii) HIV disease progression defined as the post transplant incidence of:
- opportunistic infections or neoplasms,
- CD4+ T-cell count < 200mm3, and
- any detectable level of plasma HIV viral load.
iv) Acute graft rejection,
v) Return to dialysis,
vi) Recurrence of HCV infection
Summary of Findings
No direct evidence comparing an HIV+ cohort undergoing transplantation with the same not undergoing transplantation (wait list) was found in the literature search.
The results of this review are reported for the following comparison cohorts undergoing transplantation:
i) Kidney Transplantation: HIV+ cohort compared with HIV− cohort
ii) Liver Transplantation: HIV+ cohort compared with HIV− negative cohort
iii) Liver Transplantation: HIV+ HCV+ (co-infected) cohort compared with HCV+ (mono-infected) cohort
Kidney Transplantation: HIV+ vs. HIV−
Based on a pooled HIV+ cohort sample size of 285 patients across four studies, the risk of death after kidney transplantation in an HIV+ cohort does not differ to that of an HIV− cohort [hazard ratio (HR): 0.90; 95% CI: 0.36, 2.23]. The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Death censored graft survival was reported in one study with an HIV+ cohort sample size of 100, and was statistically significantly different (p=.03) to that in the HIV− cohort (n=36,492). However, the quality of evidence supporting this outcome was determined to be very low. There was also uncertainty in the rate of return to dialysis after kidney transplantation in both the HIV+ and HIV− groups and the effect, if any, this may have on patient survival. Because of the very low quality evidence rating, the effect of kidney transplantation on HIV-disease progression is uncertain.
The rate of acute graft rejection was determined using the data from one study. There was a nonsignificant difference between the HIV+ and HIV− cohorts (OR 0.13; 95% CI: 0.01, 2.64), although again, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in this estimate of effect.
Liver Transplantation: HIV+ vs. HIV−
Based on a combined HIV+ cohort sample size of 198 patient across five studies, the risk of death after liver transplantation in an HIV+ cohort (with at least 50% of the cohort co-infected with HCV+) is statistically significantly 64% greater compared with an HIV− cohort (HR: 1.64; 95% CI: 1.32, 2.02). The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Death censored graft survival was reported for an HIV+ cohort in one study (n=11) however the DCGS rate of the contemporaneous control HIV− cohort was not reported. Because of sparse data the quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low indicating death censored graft survival is uncertain.
Both the CD4+ T-cell count and HIV viral load appear controlled post transplant with an incidence of opportunistic infection of 20.5%. However, the quality of this evidence for these outcomes is very low indicating uncertainty in these effects. Similarly, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in the rate of acute graft rejection among both the HIV+ and HIV− groups
Liver Transplantation: HIV+/HCV+ vs. HCV+
Based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort sample size of 156 from seven studies, the risk of death after liver transplantation is significantly greater (2.8 fold) in a co-infected cohort compared with an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (HR: 2.81; 95% CI: 1.47, 5.37). The quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low. Death censored graft survival evidence was not available.
Regarding disease progression, based on a combined sample size of 71 persons in the co-infected cohort, the CD4+ T-cell count and HIV viral load appear controlled post transplant; however, again the quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low. The rate of opportunistic infection in the co-infected cohort was 7.2%. The quality of evidence supporting this estimate is very low, indicating uncertainty in these estimates of effect.
Based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort (n=57) the rate of acute graft rejection does not differ to that of an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (OR: 0.88; 95% CI: 0.44, 1.76). Also based on a combined HIV+/HCV+ cohort (n=83), the rate of HCV+ recurrence does not differ to that of an HCV+ mono-infected cohort (OR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.27, 1.59). In both cases, the quality of the supporting evidence was very low.
Overall, because of very low quality evidence there is uncertainty in the effect of kidney or liver transplantation in HIV+ persons with end stage organ failure compared with those not infected with HIV. Examining the economics of this issue, the cost of kidney and liver transplants in an HIV+ patient population are, on average, 56K and 147K per case, based on both Canadian and American experiences.
PMCID: PMC3377507  PMID: 23074407
10.  Effective treatment of injecting drug users with recently acquired Hepatitis C virus infection 
Gastroenterology  2009;138(1):123.
Background & Aims
Patients with acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection that receive treatment achieve high rates of sustained virological response (SVR), but few studies have examined outcomes among injecting drug users (IDUs). We evaluated the efficacy of treatment of recent HCV infection in IDUs with acute and early chronic HCV.
Methods
We analyzed data from the Australian Trial in Acute Hepatitis C (ATAHC)—a prospective study of the natural history and treatment outcomes of patients with recent HCV infection. Participants eligible for the study had their first anti-HCV antibody positive test result within the past 6 months and either acute clinical HCV within the past 12 months or documented anti-HCV seroconversion within 24 months. Participants with HCV received pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN)α-2a (180 μg/week, n=74); those with HCV/HIV co-infection received PEG-IFNα-2a (180 μg/week) with ribavirin (n=35) for 24 weeks.
Results
From June 2004 to February 2008, 167 participants were enrolled in the ATAHC; 79% had injected drugs in the previous 6 months. Among 74 with only HCV, the SVRs were 55% and 72% by intention-to-treat and per protocol analysis, respectively. In multivariate analyses, baseline factors independently associated with lower SVR included decreased social functioning and current opiate pharmacotherapy. Adherent participants had higher SVR rates (63% vs 29%, P=0.025). Of the 35 participants with HCV/HIV co-infection, the SVRs were 74% and 75% by intention-to-treat and per protocol analysis, respectively.
Conclusion
Treatment of recent HCV infection among IDUs, including those with HIV co-infection, is effective. Strategies to engage socially marginalized individuals and increase adherence should improve treatment outcomes in this population.
doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2009.09.019
PMCID: PMC2813391  PMID: 19782085
hepatitis C; HCV; acute hepatitis C; pegylated interferon; injection drug users
11.  Factors Associated with Prevalent Hepatitis C Infection Among HIV-Infected Women with No Reported History of Injection Drug Use: The Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2009;23(11):915-923.
Although the primary mode of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission is exposure to blood products or injection drug use (IDU), studies have found varying independent risk factors for HCV infection among persons with no history of IDU or exposure to blood products. For HIV-infected women, sexual transmission may be another potential source of HCV infection. HIV-infected and HIV-negative women at risk for HIV enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) during October 1994 to November 1995 and again between October 2001 and November 2002 were studied. Clinical and demographic factors associated with HCV seroprevalence were assessed in multivariate logistic regression models controlling for history of blood transfusion and IDU. Among 3636 women with HCV results, 31.5% were HCV antibody positive (HCV+) including 13.5% with no reported history of IDU or blood transfusions. Multivariate logistic regression analyses stratified on IDU showed that among women with no history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV positivity (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8, 95% confidence [CI] = 2.1, 3.8, p < 0.0001) after controlling for blood transfusion, age, HIV infection, unemployment, birth in the United States, history of hepatitis B infection, and current smoking status. Further stratification on HIV status showed that the association was significant only for the HIV+ (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3, 2.7, p = 0.0007) compared to the HIV− women (OR = 1.1, 95% CI = 0.4, 2.7) although these odds ratios were not significantly different ( p = 0.25). For HIV-positive women with no reported history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV suggesting that sexual transmission may be an important mode of HCV transmission for these high-risk women.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0111
PMCID: PMC2823487  PMID: 19877800
12.  Factors Associated with Prevalent Hepatitis C Infection Among HIV-Infected Women with No Reported History of Injection Drug Use: The Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(11):915-923.
Abstract
Although the primary mode of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission is exposure to blood products or injection drug use (IDU), studies have found varying independent risk factors for HCV infection among persons with no history of IDU or exposure to blood products. For HIV-infected women, sexual transmission may be another potential source of HCV infection. HIV-infected and HIV-negative women at risk for HIV enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) during October 1994 to November 1995 and again between October 2001 and November 2002 were studied. Clinical and demographic factors associated with HCV seroprevalence were assessed in multivariate logistic regression models controlling for history of blood transfusion and IDU. Among 3636 women with HCV results, 31.5% were HCV antibody positive (HCV+) including 13.5% with no reported history of IDU or blood transfusions. Multivariate logistic regression analyses stratified on IDU showed that among women with no history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV positivity (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8, 95% confidence [CI] = 2.1, 3.8, p < 0.0001) after controlling for blood transfusion, age, HIV infection, unemployment, birth in the United States, history of hepatitis B infection, and current smoking status. Further stratification on HIV status showed that the association was significant only for the HIV+ (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3, 2.7, p = 0.0007) compared to the HIV− women (OR = 1.1, 95% CI = 0.4, 2.7) although these odds ratios were not significantly different (p = 0.25). For HIV-positive women with no reported history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV suggesting that sexual transmission may be an important mode of HCV transmission for these high-risk women.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0111
PMCID: PMC2823487  PMID: 19877800
13.  Hepatitis C virus infection among HIV-positive men who have sex with men: protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Systematic Reviews  2014;3:31.
Background
Outbreaks of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection have been reported in HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) in North America, Europe and Asia. Transmission is believed to be the result of exposure to blood during sexual contact. In those infected with HIV, acute HCV infection is more likely to become chronic, treatment for both HIV and HCV is more complicated and HCV disease progression may be accelerated. There is a need for systematic reviews and meta-analyses to synthesize the epidemiology, prevention and methods to control HCV infection in this population.
Methods/design
Eligible studies will include quantitative empirical data related to sexual transmission of HCV in HIV-positive MSM, including data describing incidence or prevalence, and associations between risk factors or interventions and the occurrence or progression of HCV disease. Care will be taken to ensure that HCV transmission related to injection drug use is excluded from the incidence estimates. Scientific databases will be searched using a comprehensive search strategy. Proceedings of scientific conferences, reference lists and personal files will also be searched. Quality ratings will be assigned to each eligible report using the Newcastle–Ottawa scale. Pooled estimates of incidence rates and measures of association will be calculated using random effects models. Heterogeneity will be assessed at each stage of data synthesis.
Discussion
HIV-positive MSM are a key HCV-affected population in the US and other high-income countries. This review seeks to identify modifiable risk factors and settings that will be the target of interventions, and will consider how to constitute a portfolio of interventions to deliver the greatest health benefit. This question must be considered in relation to the magnitude of HCV infection and its consequences in other key affected populations, namely, young prescription opioid users who have transitioned to illicit opiate injection, and older injection drug users among whom HCV prevalence and incidence are extremely high. This review is part of a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses that will synthesize the evidence across all these population groups and develop recommendations and decision tools to guide public health resource allocation.
Trial registration
PROSPERO registration number: CRD42013006462
doi:10.1186/2046-4053-3-31
PMCID: PMC3986916  PMID: 24669911
Hepatitis C virus; Men who have sex with men; HIV infection; Epidemiology; Systematic review
14.  Factors associated with hepatitis C viremia in a large cohort of HIV-infected and - uninfected women 
Background
Coinfection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is common among HIV-infected women.
Objective
To further our understanding of the risk factors for HCV viremia and the predictors of HCV viral load among women.
Study design
We investigated sociodemographic, immunologic, and virologic factors associated with presence and level of HCV viremia among 882 HIV-infected and 167 HIV-uninfected HCV-seropositive women at entry into the Women's Interagency HIV Study.
Results
Plasma HCV RNA was detected in 852 (81%) of these 1,049 women (range: 1.2–7.8 log10 copies/ml). HCV-viremic women were more likely to have an HIV RNA level >100,000 copies/ml (P =0.0004), have reported smoking (P =0.01), or to be Black (P =0.005). They were less likely to have current or resolved hepatitis B infection. HCV RNA levels were higher in women who were >35 years old, or HIV-infected. Current smoking and history of drug use (crack/freebase cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, or heroin) were each associated with both presence and level of viremia.
Conclusions
Substance abuse counseling aimed at eliminating ongoing use of illicit drugs and tobacco may reduce clinical progression, improve response to treatment, and decrease HCV transmission by lowering levels of HCV viremia in women.
doi:10.1016/j.jcv.2007.08.021
PMCID: PMC3493623  PMID: 18243785
Hepatitis C; Hepatitis C RNA levels; Hepatitis C viremia; HIV/hepatitis C virus coinfection
15.  Human immunodeficiency virus–hepatitis C virus co-infection in pregnant women and perinatal transmission to infants in Thailand 
Summary
Objectives
The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence and factors associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and -uninfected Thai pregnant women and the rate of HCV transmission to their infants.
Patients and methods
Study subjects included 1435 HIV-infected pregnant women and their infants, enrolled in a perinatal HIV prevention trial, and a control group of 448 HIV-uninfected pregnant women. Women were screened for HCV antibodies with an enzyme immunoassay. Positive results were confirmed by recombinant immunoblot and HCV RNA quantification. Infants were tested for HCV antibodies at 18 months or for HCV RNA at between 6 weeks and 6 months.
Results
Of the HIV-infected women, 2.9% were HCV-infected compared to 0.5% of HIV-uninfected women (p = 0.001). Only history of intravenous drug use was associated with HCV infection in HIV-infected women. Ten percent of infants born to co-infected mothers acquired HCV. The risk of transmission was associated with a high maternal HCV RNA (p = 0.012), but not with HIV-1 load or CD4 count.
Conclusions
Acquisition of HCV through intravenous drug use partially explains the higher rate of HCV infection in HIV-infected Thai women than in HIV-uninfected controls. Perinatal transmission occurred in 10% of infants of HIV–HCV-co-infected mothers and was associated with high maternal HCV RNA.
doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2009.09.002
PMCID: PMC2886172  PMID: 20047847
HIV; HCV; Risk factors; Perinatal transmission; Intravenous drug use; Thailand
16.  Risk factors for hepatitis C virus infection among injecting drug users in Sydney. 
Genitourinary Medicine  1994;70(5):321-324.
OBJECTIVE--To study risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in injecting drug users (IDUs) from central Sydney. SETTING AND SUBJECTS--All IDUs attending a primary health care facility in central Sydney between December 1991 and November 1992 who underwent HCV antibody testing. METHODS--Information was obtained retrospectively from client forms routinely completed at the time of medical consultation. Additional information on injecting history and practice was obtained from the registration forms of subjects who also attended the needle syringe exchange programme at the same health care facility. RESULTS--Of the 201 IDUs tested, 118 (59%) had HCV antibodies, which did not differ significantly between males and females. HCV prevalence increased significantly with age, being highest in IDUs who were aged 35 years or more (93%) and lowest in IDUs aged under 20 years (17%). HCV prevalence increased significantly with time since first injecting, from 26% for IDUs who had injected for less than 3 years to 94% for those who had injected for more than 10 years. HCV prevalence was also significantly higher in heterosexual IDUs as compared with homosexual male IDUs, and in opiate users as compared with stimulant users, even after adjustment for age and duration of injecting. HCV prevalence was strongly associated with exposure to hepatitis B virus, but was not associated with exposure to HIV. CONCLUSION--Recent HCV transmission indicates ongoing injecting risk behaviour despite HIV prevention efforts, and underlies the potential for increased transmission of HIV through the sharing of injecting equipment. Within the population of IDUs, those who are heterosexual or inject heroin appear to be at increased risk of HCV infection.
PMCID: PMC1195275  PMID: 8001943
17.  Prevalence and risk factors for Hepatitis C and HIV-1 infections among pregnant women in Central Brazil 
Background
Hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections are a major burden to public health worldwide. Routine antenatal HIV-1 screening to prevent maternal-infant transmission is universally recommended. Our objectives were to evaluate the prevalence of and potential risk factors for HCV and HIV infection among pregnant women who attended prenatal care under the coverage of public health in Central Brazil.
Methods
Screening and counselling for HIV and HCV infections was offered free of charge to all pregnant women attending antenatal clinic (ANC) in the public health system, in Goiania city (~1.1 million inhabitants) during 2004–2005. Initial screening was performed on a dried blood spot collected onto standard filter paper; positive or indeterminate results were confirmed by a second blood sample. HCV infection was defined as a positive or indeterminate sample (EIA test) and confirmed HCV-RNA technique. HIV infection was defined according to standard criteria. Factors associated with HIV and HCV infections were identified with logistic regression. The number needed to screen (NNS) to prevent one case of infant HIV infection was calculated using the Monte Carlo simulation method.
Results
A total of 28,561 pregnant women were screened for HCV and HIV-1 in ANC. Mean maternal age was 23.9 years (SD = 5.6), with 45% of the women experiencing their first pregnancy. Prevalence of HCV infection was 0.15% (95% CI 0.11%–0.20%), and the risk increased with age (p < 0.01). The prevalence of anti-HIV infection was 0.09% (95% CI 0.06%–0.14%). Black women had a 4.9-fold (95% CI 1.42–16.95) greater risk of HIV-1 infection compared to non-black women. NNS to prevent one case of infant HIV infection ranged from 4,141 to 13,928.
Conclusion
The prevalence of HIV and HCV infections were low among pregnant women, with high acceptability rates in the opt-in strategy in primary care. Older maternal age was a risk factor for HCV and antenatal HCV testing does not fulfill the requirements for screening recommendation. The finding of higher risk of HIV-1 infection among black women despite being in consonance with the HIV-1 ethnic pattern in some American regions cannot be ruled out to be a surrogate marker of socio-economic condition.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-116
PMCID: PMC2726149  PMID: 19635135
18.  Racial/Ethnic Differences in Spontaneous HCV Clearance in HIV Infected and Uninfected Women 
Digestive diseases and sciences  2012;58(5):1341-1348.
Background/Aims
Among individuals without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), African Americans have lower spontaneous clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) than Caucasians, and women have higher clearance than men. Few studies report racial/ethnic differences in acute HCV in HIV infected, or Hispanic women. We examined racial/ethnic differences in spontaneous HCV clearance in a population of HCV mono- and co-infected women.
Methods
We conducted a cross sectional study of HCV seropositive women (897 HIV infected and 168 HIV uninfected) followed in the US multicenter, NIH-funded Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), to determine the association of race/ethnicity with spontaneous HCV clearance, as defined by undetectable HCV RNA at study entry.
Results
Among HIV and HCV seropositive women, 18.7 % were HCV RNA negative, 60.9 % were African American, 19.3 % Hispanic and 17.7 % Caucasian. HIV infected African American women were less likely to spontaneously clear HCV than Hispanic (OR 0.59, 95 % CI 0.38–0.93, p = 0.022) or Caucasian women (OR 0.57, 95 % CI 0.36–0.93, p = 0.023). Among HIV uninfected women, African Americans had less HCV clearance than Hispanics (OR 0.18, 95 % CI 0.07–0.48, p = 0.001) or Caucasians (OR 0.26, 95 % CI 0.09–0.79, p = 0.017). There were no significant differences in HCV clearance between Hispanics and Caucasians, among either HIV infected (OR 0.97, 95 % CI 0.57–1.66, p = 0.91) or uninfected (OR 1.45, 95 % CI 0.56–3.8, p = 0.45) women.
Conclusions
African Americans were less likely to spontaneously clear HCV than Hispanics or Caucasians, regardless of HIV status. No significant differences in spontaneous HCV clearance were observed between Caucasian and Hispanic women. Future studies incorporating IL28B genotype may further explain these observed racial/ethnic differences in spontaneous HCV clearance.
doi:10.1007/s10620-012-2486-8
PMCID: PMC3663918  PMID: 23179159
African American; Hispanic; Acute hepatitis C; Female
19.  Co-infection with HIV and hepatitis C virus in former plasma/blood donors: challenge for patient care in rural China 
AIDS (London, England)  2006;20(10):1429-1435.
Background
Illegal commercial plasma donation in the late 1980s and early 1990s caused blood-borne infections in China.
Objectives
To estimate the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections and to identify associated risk factors in central China with a history of illegal plasma collection activities.
Design and methods
A cross-sectional study was carried out in 2004, in which all adult residents in four villages in rural Shanxi Province were invited for a questionnaire interview and testing of HIV and HCV antibodies.
Results
Of 3062 participating villagers, 29.5% reported a history of selling whole blood or plasma. HIV seropositivity was confirmed in 1.3% of subjects and 12.7% were HCV positive. Their co-infection rates were 1.1% among all study subjects, 85% among HIV-positive subjects, and 8.7% among HCV-positive subjects. Selling plasma [odds ratio (OR), 22.5; 95% confidence interval (CI), 16.1–31.7; P < 0.001] or blood (OR, 3.1; 95% CI, 2.3–4.2; P < 0.001) were independently associated with HIV and/or HCV infections. Although a spouse's history of selling plasma/blood was not associated with either infection, the HIV or HCV seropositivity of a spouse was significantly associated with HIV and/or HCV infections (both OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 2.0–5.2 in men, 2.0–4.9 in women; P < 0.001). For men, residence in the village with a prior illegal plasma collection center (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.7–3.7; P < 0.001) and for women, older age (OR, 3.4; 95% CI, 1.2–14.0; P = 0.04) were associated with HIV and/or HCV infections.
Conclusions
HIV and HCV infections are now prevalent in these Chinese communities. HIV projects should consider screening and care for HCV co-infection.
doi:10.1097/01.aids.0000233577.33973.fa
PMCID: PMC2749723  PMID: 16791018
HIV; hepatitis C virus; cross-sectional study; plasma donors; rural health; China
20.  Activation of CD8 T Cells Predicts Progression of HIV Infection in Women Coinfected with Hepatitis C Virus 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2010;201(6):823-834.
Background
Because activation of T cells is associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pathogenesis, CD4 and CD8 activation levels in patients coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) may explain conflicting reports regarding effects of HCV on HIV disease progression.
Methods
Kaplan-Meier and multivariate Cox regression models were used to study the risk of incident clinical AIDS and AIDS-related deaths among 813 HCV-negative women with HIV infection, 87 HCV-positive nonviremic women with HIV coinfection, and 407 HCV-positive viremic women with HIV coinfection (median follow-up time, 5.2 years). For 592 women, the percentages of activated CD4 and CD8 T cells expressing HLA-DR (DR) and/or CD38 were evaluated.
Results
HCV-positive viremic women had a statistically significantly higher percentage of activated CD8 T cells (P < .001) and a statistically significantly higher incidence of AIDS compared with HCV-negative women (P < .001 [log-rank test]). The AIDS risk was greater among HCV-positive viremic women in the highest tertile compared with the lowest tertile (>43% vs <26%) of CD8+CD38+DR+ T cells (hazard ratio, 2.94 [95% confidence interval, 1.50–5.77]; P =.001). This difference was not observed in the HCV-negative women (hazard ratio, 1.87 [95% confidence interval, 0.80–4.35]; P =.16). In contrast, CD4 activation predicted AIDS in both groups similarly. Increased percentages of CD8+CD38−DR+, CD4+CD38−DR−, and CD8+CD38−DR− T cells were associated with a >60% decreased risk of AIDS for HCV-positive viremic women and HCV-negative women.
Conclusion
HCV-positive viremic women with HIV coinfection who have high levels of T cell activation may have increased risk of AIDS. Earlier treatment of HIV and HCV infection may be beneficial.
doi:10.1086/650997
PMCID: PMC3105602  PMID: 20151840
21.  Plasma Hepatitis C Virus Viral Load Among Hepatitis C Virus Mono-Infected and HCV/HIV Co-Infected Individuals in Yunnan Province,China 
Hepatitis Monthly  2012;12(7):453-459.
Background
Hepatitis C virus (HCV)/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection has become a serious public health problem especially in high risk groups such as injection drug users in China. However, the impact of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy (ART) on HCV viral load which is usually regarded as a predictor of liver disease progress had not been well studied in this country.
Objectives
To explore correlations of HIV co-infection and ART with plasma HCV load among HCV-infected patients in an ethnic minority area in Yunnan Province, China.
Patients and Methods
HCV/HIV co-infected patients and HCV mono-infected controls were examined and compared for plasma HCV RNA and related risk factors.
Results
A total of 145 HCV/HIV co-infected patients and 25 HCV mono-infected controls were studied. The majority of the participants were male, belonged to an ethnic minority and were younger than 45 years old. HCV viral suppression rate with undetectable plasma HCV viral load was 28.3% in the HCV/HIV co-infected patients, 36% among HCV mono-infected controls and 29.4% overall. ART-prescribed HCV/HIV co-infected patients had significantly higher HCV viral loads (IQR: (3.80-6.44)*log10 copies ml-1) than those naïve to ART (IQR: (undetectable-6.41)*log10 copies ml-1) and HCV mono-infected patients (IQR: (undetectable-5.44)*log10 copies ml-1). Men, from the Dai minority and those with more than six years education, were also shown to have a higher plasma HCV viral load,according to multiple logistic regression analysis.
Conclusions
ART potentially increases the plasma HCV viral load among HCV/HIV coinfected patients in an ethnic minority area in China. Future large scale prospective cohort studies are needed to address the controversy associated between HIV co-infection and the natural history of HCV.
doi:10.5812/hepatmon.6160
PMCID: PMC3437457  PMID: 23008726
HIV; Coinfection; Antiretroviral therapy, Highly Active; Viral load
22.  Assessing mortality in women with hepatitis C virus and HIV using indirect markers of fibrosis 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(5):599-607.
Objective
Co-infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected individuals. However, predictors of mortality are poorly defined and most studies have focused predominantly on co-infection in men. We evaluated whether two indirect markers of hepatic fibrosis, aspartate aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index (APRI) and FIB-4 scores, were predictive of mortality in a well defined longitudinal cohort of HCV/HIV-co-infected women on HAART.
Methods
HCV/HIV-co-infected women on antiretroviral therapy enrolled in Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a National Institutes of Health-funded prospective, multicenter, cohort study of women with and at risk for HIV infection were included. Using Cox regression analysis, associations between APRI and FIB-4 with all-cause mortality were assessed.
Results
Four hundred and fifty HCV/HIV-co-infected women, of whom 191 women died, had a median follow-up of 6.6 years and 5739 WIHS visits. Compared with women with low APRI or FIB-4 levels, severe fibrosis was significantly associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality {APRI: hazard ratio 2.78 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.87, 4.12]; FIB-4: hazard ratio 2.58 (95% CI 1.68, 3.95)}. Crude death rates per 1000 patient-years increased with increasing liver fibrosis: 34.8 for mild, 51.3 for moderate and 167.9 for severe fibrosis as measured by FIB-4. Importantly, both APRI and FIB-4 increased during the 5 years prior to death for all women: the slope of increase was greater for women dying a liver-related death compared with nonliver-related death.
Conclusion
Both APRI and FIB-4 are independently associated with all-cause mortality in HCV/HIV-co-infected women and may have clinical prognostic utility among women with HIV and HCV.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32834fa121
PMCID: PMC3698040  PMID: 22156972
fibrosis markers; hepatitis C virus; HIV; longitudinal study; mortality
23.  Awareness of Hepatitis C Infection Among Women With and At Risk for HIV 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2007;22(12):1689-1694.
BACKGROUND
Treatment guidelines recommend all HIV/HCV-co-infected persons be considered for hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment, yet obstacles to testing and accessing treatment for HCV continue for women.
OBJECTIVE
To assess awareness of HCV, and describe diagnostic referrals and HCV treatment among women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
DESIGN
Prospective epidemiologic cohort.
PARTICIPANTS
Of 3,768 HIV-infected and uninfected women in WIHS, 1,166 (31%) were HCV antibody positive.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
Awareness of HCV infection and probability of referrals for diagnostic evaluations and treatment using logistic regression. Follow-up HCV information was available for 681 (390 died, 15 withdrew, 80 missed visit) in 2004. Of these 681, 522 (76.7%) reported knowing their HCV diagnosis. Of these, 247 of 522 (47.3%) stated their providers recommended a liver biopsy, whereas 139 of 247 or 56.3% reported having a liver biopsy. A total of 170 of 522 (32.6%) reported being offered treatment and 74.1% (n = 126 of 170) reported receiving HCV treatment. In multivariate regression analyses, African-American race, Hispanic/Latina ethnicity, poverty, and current crack/cocaine/heroin use were negatively associated with treatment referrals, whereas elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was associated with increased likelihood of referral and increased likelihood of treatment.
CONCLUSION
One quarter of women with HCV in this cohort were not aware of their diagnosis. Among those aware of their HCV, 1 in 4 received liver biopsy and treatment for HCV. Both provider and patient education interventions regarding HCV testing and HCV treatment options and guidelines are needed to enhance HCV awareness and participation in HCV evaluation and treatment.
doi:10.1007/s11606-007-0395-x
PMCID: PMC2219830  PMID: 17924170
women; hepatitis C; HIV; race; drug use; therapy
24.  Transmission Patterns of HIV and Hepatitis C Virus among Networks of People Who Inject Drugs 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22245.
Background
The risk-related behaviours and practices associated with injection drug use remain a driver of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission throughout the world. Here we evaluated HIV and HCV transmission patterns in the context of social networks of injection drug users (IDU) recruited from a higher incidence region in order to better understand factors that contribute to ongoing transmission among IDU.
Methods
IDU recruited through a chain-referral method provided biological specimens for analysis. HIV and HCV positive specimens were sequenced and analyzed using phylogenetic methods (Neighbour-joining and Bayesian) and transmission patterns of HIV and HCV evaluated in the context of the recruitment networks.
Results
Among the 407 recruited IDU, HCV and HIV prevalence were 60.6% and 10.1%, respectively; 98% of HIV positive individuals were co-infected with HCV. Thirty-six percent of HCV sequences were associated with clusters, compared to 67% of HIV sequences. Four (16.7%) of the 24 HCV clusters contained membership separated by 2 or fewer recruitment cycles, compared to 10 (41.6%) derived from more than one recruitment component. Two (28.6%) of the 7 HIV clusters contained membership separated by 2 or fewer recruitment cycles while 6 (85.7%) were composed of inter component membership.
Conclusions
Few HIV and HCV transmissions coincided with the recruitment networks, suggesting that they occurred in a different social context or a context not captured by the recruitment network. However, among the complete cohort, a higher degree of HIV clustering indicates many are recent infections originating from within current social networks, whereas a larger proportion of HCV infections may have occurred earlier in injecting history and in the context of a different social environment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022245
PMCID: PMC3140499  PMID: 21799802
25.  Disorders of Glucose Metabolism in HIV-Infected Women 
Background
Abnormal glucose metabolism in HIV-infected patients has largely been attributed to protease inhibitor use. However most studies of glucose metabolism in HIV-infected patients have focused on men or have lacked appropriate controls.
Methods
We assessed factors associated with previously-diagnosed diabetes among 620 midlife women with- or at-risk for HIV infection. In a subset of 221 women without previously-diagnosed diabetes, we performed an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) with insulin levels, and assessed factors associated with abnormal glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and insulin secretion.
Results
Thirteen percent had previously-diagnosed diabetes. Among women without previously diagnosed diabetes who underwent an OGTT, 6% had undiagnosed diabetes and 12% had impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). On multivariate analysis, factors associated with previously-diagnosed diabetes included current methadone treatment, body mass index, family history of diabetes, and physical inactivity. Factors independently associated with abnormal OGTT (IGT or diabetes) included age ≥50 y, family history of diabetes, physical inactivity, and pack-years of smoking. Factors independently associated with insulin resistance included waist circumference, Hispanic ethnicity, physical inactivity, and among HIV-infected women, use of non-PI HAART. Factors associated with lower insulin secretion included current opiate use (methadone or heroin) and older age.
Conclusions
Abnormal glucose metabolism is highly prevalent among midlife women with or at-risk for HIV infection, particularly those who use opiates. Women with classic diabetes risk factors, rather than solely those taking PIs, should be screened for diabetes in the primary care setting. Interventions targeting modifiable risk factors, including obesity and physical inactivity, are also warranted.
doi:10.1086/429824
PMCID: PMC2104646  PMID: 15844072
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); diabetes mellitus; antiretroviral therapy; women; drug use

Results 1-25 (741411)