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1.  Different HCV Genotype Distributions of HIV-Infected Individuals in Henan and Guangxi, China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50343.
Due to shared transmission routes, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is highly prevalent among people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is associated with hepatotoxicity, leading to the negative effects on patients with HIV/HCV co-infection. In order to provide valuable information for HCV management in this particular population, we investigated the HCV genotypes in HIV-infected individuals from Henan and Guangxi, the two provinces with the most HIV-infected cases in China.
Individuals, who acquired HIV infection through various risk routes, were recruited from Henan and Guangxi. Test of antibodies against HCV (anti-HCV) was conducted, and detection of HCV RNA was performed by PCR amplification. HCV subtypes were determined by direct sequencing of amplicons, followed by phylogenetic analysis.
We recruited a total of 1,112 HIV-infected people in this present study. Anti-HCV was detected from 218 (50.1%) patients from Henan and 81 (12.0%) patients from Guangxi, respectively. The highest prevalence of HIV/HCV co-infection was observed from FBDs (former blood donors) (87.2%) in Henan and IDUs (intravenous drug users) (81.8%) in Guangxi, respectively. The seroprevalence rate of HCV among people with sexual contact was significantly higher in Henan than in Guangxi (18.7% vs. 3.5%, P<0.05). The positive rate of HCV RNA in Henan and Guangxi was 30.6% (133/435) and 11.2% (76/677), respectively. Moreover, we found that 20 anti-HCV negative samples were HCV positive by PCR amplification. HCV subtype 1b (52.7%) was predominant in Henan, followed by subtype 2a (41.9%). The most frequently detected subtypes in Guangxi were 6a (35.6%) and 3b (32.9%).
The HCV genotype distributions were different in HIV-infected people from Henan and Guangxi. HIV/HCV co-infection was not only linked to the transmission routes, but also associated with the geographic position.
PMCID: PMC3511438  PMID: 23226265
2.  Impaired Hepatitis C Virus-Specific T Cell Responses and Recurrent Hepatitis C Virus in HIV Coinfection 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e492.
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).
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
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
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
PMCID: PMC1705826  PMID: 17194190
3.  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.
Illegal commercial plasma donation in the late 1980s and early 1990s caused blood-borne infections in China.
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.
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.
HIV and HCV infections are now prevalent in these Chinese communities. HIV projects should consider screening and care for HCV co-infection.
PMCID: PMC2749723  PMID: 16791018
HIV; hepatitis C virus; cross-sectional study; plasma donors; rural health; China
4.  Prevalence and characterization of hepatitis B and C virus infections in a needle-sharing population in Northern China 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:460.
The epidemiologies of hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections in specific populations in certain areas of China are poorly understood. A pilot survey of HCV/HBV infections was carried out in villages in Kuancheng County, Heben Province, where injection of sodium benzoate or amphetamines using shared needles has been a common practice. The aims of this study were to analyze the endemicity and characterize HCV/HBV infections in this population.
Data on demographic characteristics and drug abuse were collected from individuals who signed informed consent forms. Serum HCV antibody (anti-HCV), hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), and hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) were measured in all participants. HCV RNA was measured in samples positive for anti-HCV using real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Among 852 participants from 11 villages, 49.9% had used sodium benzoate or amphetamine at least once, by intravenous injection. The overall prevalence of anti-HCV, HCV RNA, anti-HBc, HBsAg, and HCV/HBV co-infection was 37.1%, 26.6%, 67.7%, 10.7%, and 30.0%, respectively. Two-hundred-twenty-three of 227 (98.2%) participants positive for HCV RNA were aged >40 years. Co-infection was related to sex, age, number of injections, and time from first injection. The rate of spontaneous HCV RNA clearance was 28.2% (89/316), and was related to the number of injections, time from first injection, and HBsAg positivity. However, HBsAg was related to the anti-HBc signal/cut-off ratio rather than to the above parameters. Trend tests demonstrated that the prevalence of anti-HCV, HCV RNA, and anti-HBc was related to the number of injections (P < 0.001), while HBsAg prevalence was not (P = 0.347).
The prevalence of HCV and HBV infection is likely to be high among individuals older than 40 years in areas of needle sharing, and one-time screening for HCV infection should be offered to these populations.
PMCID: PMC4419395  PMID: 25933922
Prevalence; Hepatitis C virus; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis; Intravenous drug user
5.  High Prevalence of HIV, HCV, HBV and Co-Infection and Associated Risk Factors among Injecting Drug Users in Yunnan Province, China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42937.
To estimate the prevalence of HIV, HCV, HBV and co-infection with 2 or 3 viruses and evaluate risk factors among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Yunnan province, China.
2080 IDUs were recruited from 5 regions of Yunnan Province, China to detect the infection status of HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Statistical analysis was performed to evaluate risk factors related to HIV, HCV and HBV infections.
The infection rates among all participants were 25.5% for HIV, 77.7% for HCV, 19.2% for HBV, 15% for HIV/HCV, 0.3% for HIV/HBV, 7.8% for HCV/HBV and 7.1% for HIV/HCV/HBV. The prevalence of virus infection varied widely by region in Yunnan of China. Statistical analyses indicated that high prevalence of HIV and HCV among IDUs was positively associated with the duration of drug injection and sharing needles/syringes; besides, HCV infection was associated with the frequency of drug injection.
HIV, HCV, HBV infections and co-infections were still very prevalent among IDUs in Yunnan province because of drug use behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3420897  PMID: 22916185
6.  Characteristics of HCV Co-Infection among HIV Infected Individuals from an Area with High Risk of Blood-Borne Infections in Central China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94219.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infection has been proved to be a growing public health concern. The prevalence and genotypic pattern vary with geographic locations. Limited information is available to date with regard to HCV genotype and its clinical implications among those former commercial blood donor communities. The aims of this study were to genetically define the HCV genotype and associated clinical characteristics of HIV/HCV co-infected patients from a region with commercial blood donation history in central China.
A cross sectional study, including 164 HIV infected subjects, was conducted in Shanxi province central China. Serum samples were collected and HCV antibody testing, AST and ALT testing were performed. Seropositive samples were further subjected to RT-PCR followed by direct sequence coupled with phylogenetic analysis of Core-E1 and NS5B regions performed in comparison with known reference genotypes.
A total of 139 subjects were HCV antibody positive. Genotype could be determined for 88 isolates. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the predominant circulating subtype was HCV 1b (65.9%), followed by HCV 2a (34.1%). The HCV viral load in the subjects infected with HIV1b was significantly higher than those infected with HCV 2a (P = 0.006). No significant difference for HCV RNA level was detected between ART status, CD4+ cell count level and HIV RNA level. Serum AST and ALT level were likely to increase with HCV RNA level, although no significance was observed. Those who had conducted commercial donation later than 1991 (OR 3.43, 95% CI: 1.12–10.48) and had a short duration of donation (OR 0.35, 95% CI: 0.13–0.96) were more likely to be infected with HCV 1b.
These results suggest that HCV subtype 1b predominates in this population, and the impact of HIV status and ART on HCV disease progression is not significantly correlated.
PMCID: PMC3978003  PMID: 24709894
7.  Mother-to-Child Transmission of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Among HIV/HCV-Coinfected Women 
Maternal human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection has been associated with increased hepatitis C virus (HCV) mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). We hypothesized that HCV/HIV-coinfected women with well-controlled HIV disease would not have increased HCV MTCT.
The NISDI Perinatal and LILAC cohorts enrolled HIV-infected pregnant women and their infants in Latin America and the Caribbean. This substudy evaluated the HCV infection status of mothers at participating sites and their live born, singleton infants who had a 6-month postnatal visit by December 31, 2008. Mothers who were anti-HCV-positive, or who had CD4 counts (cells/mm3) <200 with detectable HCV RNA, were considered HCV-infected. All HCV-infected women were tested for HCV RNA. Infants with HCV RNA were considered HCV-infected.
Of 1042 enrolled women, 739 (71%) mother-infant pairs met the inclusion criteria. Of the 739 women, 67 (9%) were anti-HCV-positive and 672 anti-HCV-negative [68 (10%) with CD4 counts <200; of these, 3 (4.4%) were HCV RNA-positive]. Therefore, our study population comprised 70 HCV-infected (47 with HCV RNA) and 669 HCV-uninfected women (and their infants). Factors associated with maternal HCV infection included unemployment (odds ratio [OR] = 2.58); tobacco (OR = 1.73) or marijuana (OR = 3.88) use during pregnancy; enrollment HIV viral load ([VL] copies/mL) ≥10 000 (OR = 2.27); HIV clinical disease stage C (OR = 2.12); and abnormal alanine aminotransferase (OR = 4.24) or aspartate aminotransferase (OR = 11.98). Four of 47 infants (8.5%) born to HCV-viremic women were HCV-infected, and all 4 mothers had HIV VL <1000 at hospital discharge after delivery.
HCV MTCT among HIV/HCV-coinfected women with well-controlled HIV disease may be lower than reported in other coinfected populations. Studies with longer infant follow-up are needed.
PMCID: PMC4502757  PMID: 26199724
Mother-to-Child Transmission; HCV; HIV/HCV Coinfection
8.  Prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C virus infections among inmates of Ontario remand facilities 
Each year more than 56 000 adult and young offenders are admitted to Ontario's remand facilities (jails, detention centres and youth centres). The prevalence of HIV infection in Ontario remand facilities was last measured over a decade ago, and no research on the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been conducted in such facilities. We sought to determine the prevalence of HIV infection, HCV infection and HIV–HCV coinfection among inmates in Ontario's remand facilities.
A voluntary and anonymous cross-sectional prevalence study of HIV and HCV infections was conducted among people admitted to 13 selected remand facilities across Ontario between Feb. 1, 2003, and June 20, 2004. Data collection included a saliva specimen for HIV and HCV antibody screening and an interviewer-administered survey. Prevalence rates and 95% confidence intervals were calculated and examined according to demographic characteristics, region of incarceration and self-reported history of injection drug use.
In total, 1877 participants provided both a saliva specimen and survey information. Among the adult participants, the prevalence of HIV infection was 2.1% among men and 1.8% among women. Adult offenders most likely to have HIV infection were older offenders (≥ 30 years) and injection drug users. The prevalence of HCV infection was 15.9% among men, 30.2% among women and 54.7% among injection drug users. Adult offenders most likely to have HCV infection were women, older offenders (≥ 30 years) and injection drug users. The prevalence of HCV–HIV coinfection was 1.2% among men and 1.5% among women. It was highest among older inmates and injection drug users. Among the young offenders, none was HIV positive and 1 (0.4%) was HCV positive. On the basis of the study results, we estimated that 1079 HIV-positive adults and 9208 HCV-positive adults were admitted to remand facilities in Ontario from Apr. 1, 2003, to Mar. 31, 2004.
Adult offenders entering Ontario remand facilities have a considerably higher prevalence of HIV and HCV infections than the general population.
PMCID: PMC1930192  PMID: 17664449
9.  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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3437457  PMID: 23008726
HIV; Coinfection; Antiretroviral therapy, Highly Active; Viral load
10.  Use of parenteral caffeinum natrio-benzoicum: an underestimated risk factor for HCV transmission in China 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:928.
Fuyu city in China has a high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection resulting in a high morbidity and mortality from chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. This study was conducted to identify the risk factors for HCV infection in Fuyu city.
Recruitment of study subjects involved a cross-sectional survey using non-random, convenience sampling. Information on demographic variables, risk factors for HCV infection, clinical manifestations, behavioral practices and family history was collected by administering a questionnaire. Anti-HCV antibody was detected using Abbott ARCHITECT i2000SR. HCV infection was confirmed by HCV-RNA testing by the Roche Taqman HCV test. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify the factors associated with HCV infection.
Out of 3,228 persons that participated in the survey, 3,219 were enrolled in the study. The prevalence of HCV infection was 42.1 % (1355/3219). Among 734 patients with chronic HCV infection whose HCV-RNA genotyping was performed, genotype 1b was the most common (58.0 %), followed by genotype 2a (40.2 %), while co-infection with genotypes 1b and 2a was detected in 1.8 % of the subjects. On univariate analysis, male gender, older age, parenteral caffeinum natrio-benzoicum and share syringes (PCNBSS), and nine other factors were significantly associated with HCV infection. After adjusting for potential confounders, male gender, old age, cigarette smoking, lower education level, history of blood transfusion, blood donation, prior dental surgery, and PCNBSS were found to be independently associated with HCV infection.
The prevalence of HCV infection is likely to be high among residents in Fuyu and we observed that genotypes 1b and 2a dominated in the city. Our findings support the hypothesis that PCNBSS which became endemic in Fuyu city during 1970s-1980s is strongly associated with HCV positivity.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-015-2299-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4575778  PMID: 26386815
Hepatitis C virus; Prevalence; Parenteral caffeinum natrio-benzoicum abuse; Risk factors
11.  Risks for HIV, HBV, and HCV infections among male injection drug users in northern Vietnam: A case-control study 
AIDS care  2009;21(1):7-16.
Injection drug use (IDU) and HIV infection are important public health problems in Vietnam. The IDU population increased 70% from 2000 to 2004 and is disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS--the country’s second leading cause of death. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) share transmission routes with HIV and cause serious medical consequences. This study aimed to determine risk factors for acquisition of HIV, HBV, and HCV infections among IDUs in a northern province. We conducted a matched case-control study among active IDUs aged 18–45 who participated in a community-based survey (30-minute interview and serologic testing). Each HIV-infected IDU (case) was matched with one HIV-uninfected IDU (control) by age, sex (males only), and study site (128 pairs). Similar procedures were used for HBV infection (50 pairs) and HCV infection (65 pairs). Conditional logistic regression models were fit to identify risk factors for each infection. Among 309 surveyed IDUs, the HIV, HBV, and HCV prevalence was 42.4%, 80.9%, and 74.1%, respectively. Only 11.0% reported having been vaccinated against hepatitis B. While 13.3% of the IDUs reported sharing needles (past 6 months), 63.8% engaged in indirect sharing practices (past 6 months), including sharing drug solutions, containers, rinse water, and frontloading drugs. In multivariable models, sharing drugs through frontloading was significantly associated with HIV infection (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8), HBV infection (OR = 3.8), and HCV infection (OR = 4.6). We report an unrecognized association between sharing drugs through frontloading and higher rates of HIV, HBV and HCV infections among male IDUs in Vietnam. This finding may have important implications for bloodborne viral prevention for IDUs in Vietnam.
PMCID: PMC2869448  PMID: 19085215
HIV; hepatitis B virus; hepatitis C virus; Vietnam; substance abuse
12.  HIV, Hepatitis B and C among people who inject drugs: high prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis C RNA positive infections observed in Delhi, India 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:726.
India has large PWID (persons who inject drugs) population estimated at 177,000. PWIDs are at high risk for HIV, Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) infections. We report the prevalence of HIV, HBV and HCV infections and correlates of HIV-HCV co-infection among male PWIDs in Delhi.
3748 male PWIDs were recruited for a longitudinal HIV incidence study. Participants were tested for HBV and HCV infections at their first follow-up visit (FV1) using serum HBV-surface antigen, and HCV-antibody tests followed by HCV RNA PCR, respectively. All PWIDs who were HIV-negative at enrollment, were re-tested for HIV at FV1. Multinomial logistic regression was employed to identify predictors of HIV, HCV and HIV-HCV co-infection.
Overall prevalence of HIV, HBV and HCV among 2,292 participants tested at FV1 was 25.9 %, 9.7 % and 53.7 %, respectively. 6.4 % of the participants had HIV mono-infection, 34.1 % had HCV mono-infection, and 19.6 % had HIV-HCV co-infection. 26 % of HIV-positive participants without HCV were HBsAg positive.
In the regression model, having practiced at least one risky injection in the past month (relative risk ratio (RRR): 1.38; 95 % CI: 1.01-1.89) and not knowing his own HIV status (RRR: 1.65, 95 % CI: 1.25-2.17) were independent predictors for HIV-HCV co-infection. Longer duration of drug injections was associated with a higher likelihood of HCV mono-infection (2–5 years RRR: 2.13; 6–10 years RRR: 2.74; ≥11 years RRR: 3.14) and HIV-HCV co-infection (2–5 years RRR: 5.14; 6–10 years RRR: 8.53; >11 years RRR: 8.03). Higher frequency of injection days/month was associated with a higher likelihood of HCV mono-infection (≤10 days/month RRR: 1.61; 11–20 days/month RRR: 3.15; 21–30 days/month RRR: 3.47) and HIV-HCV co-infections (≤10 days/month RRR: 2.26; 11–20 days/month RRR: 3.46; 21–30 days/month RRR: 4.83).
We report a high prevalence of HIV, HCV and HIV-HCV co-infection among male PWIDs in Delhi. A tenth of the participants were HBsAg positive. Targeted Intervention programs should make HBV/HCV testing, prevention and care more accessible for PWIDs.
PMCID: PMC4520270
HIV; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis C; HIV-HCV co-infection; People Who Inject Drugs (PWID); India
13.  Factors Associated with Seronegative Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection in HIV Infection 
Chronic seronegative hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is defined as being HCV antibody (anti-HCV) negative, but HCV RNA positivity occurs in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, associated factors are not well established because of the small number of reported cases.
Multivariate logistic regression analysis of HIV-infected subjects from 4 cohorts (Tien et al., 2006; Bonacini et al., 2001; George et al., 2002; and Hall et al., 2004) determined factors associated with HCV RNA positivity in anti-HCV–negative subjects. HCV enzyme immunoassay 2.0 was used to determine anti-HCV status.
Among 1174 anti-HCV–negative, HIV-infected subjects, the prevalence of seronegative HCV infection was 3.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2%–4.3%). History of injection drug use (IDU; OR, 5.8; 95% CI, 2.7–12.8), higher alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level (OR, 2.0 per doubling; 95% CI, 1.3–3.2), and CD4 cell count <200 cells/μL (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.1–4.8) were associated with HCV RNA positivity in anti-HCV–negative subjects. Among those with a history of IDU who had either a CD4 cell count <200 cells/μL or an ALT level greater than the upper limit of normal, the prevalence of seronegative HCV infection was 24% (95% CI, 13%–39%).
Detectable HCV RNA in the context of a negative HCV enzyme immunoassay 2.0 result in HIV-infected patients is low, but higher than the reported prevalence in HIV-uninfected patients. Our findings suggest that HCV RNA testing should be performed in anti-HCV–negative, HIV-infected patients, especially those with a history of IDU and either a CD4 cell count <200 cells/μL or an abnormal ALT level.
PMCID: PMC3170414  PMID: 17243063
14.  Kidney and liver organ transplantation in persons with human immunodeficiency virus 
Executive Summary
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
15.  Epidemiology of Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Risk Factor Analysis in the Hebei Province, China 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75586.
In 1985, a hepatitis C virus (HCV) outbreak caused by plasmapheresis donation was reported in the Hebei Province, China. However, studies assessing the epidemic features and risk factors of HCV in the general population of Hebei have been limited until now.
The multicenter cluster sampling method was used to collect samples. The participants were interviewed. Relevant information was obtained from the general population using a standardized questionnaire, and association and logistic regression analyses were conducted. Serum samples were taken to test anti-HCV by enzyme immunoassays.
A total of 4562 participants from 11 cities of the Hebei Province were enrolled. The average anti-HCV positive rate was 0.62% (29/4562), which was 1.07% in the rural population, compared with 0.22% in the urban population. The anti-HCV positive rate in the 40–59-year age group was higher than in those aged <40 years. History of blood transfusion and transmission in families were the main risk factors for HCV infection in this area.
The anti-HCV positive rate in Hebei has decreased significantly from that two decades ago. Safety of blood products and health education about HCV still need to be improved.
PMCID: PMC3777954  PMID: 24069430
16.  HCV RNA Levels in a Multi-Ethnic Cohort of Injection Drug Users: Human Genetic, Viral and Demographic Associations 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(1):86-94.
In patients with chronic hepatitis C, the hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA level is an important predictor of treatment response. To explore the relationship of HCV RNA with viral and demographic factors, as well as IL28B genotype, we examined viral levels in an ethnically diverse group of injection drug users (IDUs). Between 1998 and 2000, the Urban Health Study (UHS) recruited IDUs from street settings in San Francisco Bay area neighborhoods. Participants who were positive by HCV EIA were tested for HCV viremia by a bDNA assay. HCV genotype was determined by sequencing the HCV NS5B region. For a subset of participants, IL28B rs12979860 genotype was determined by Taqman. Among 1701 participants with HCV viremia, median age was 46 years and median duration of injection drug use was 26 years; 56.0% were African American and 34.0% were of European ancestry (non-Hispanic). HIV-1 prevalence was 13.9%. The overall median HCV RNA level was 6.45 log10 copies/ml. In unadjusted analyses, higher levels were found with older age, male gender, African American ancestry, HBV infection, HIV-1 infection and IL28B rs12979860-CC genotype; compared to participants infected with HCV genotype 1, HCV RNA was lower in participants with genotype 3 or genotype 4. In an adjusted analysis, age, gender, racial ancestry, HIV-1 infection, HCV genotype and IL28B rs12979860 genotype were all independently associated with HCV RNA. Conclusion: The level of HCV viremia is influenced by a large number of demographic, viral and human genetic factors.
PMCID: PMC3369001  PMID: 22331649
epidemiology; genetics; HCV; IL28B; viremia
17.  Prevalence of hepatitis C in a Swiss sample of men who have sex with men: whom to screen for HCV infection? 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:3.
While the numbers of hepatitis-C-virus (HCV) infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) who are co-infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are on the rise, with vast evidence for sexual transmission of HCV in this population, concerns have also been raised regarding sexual HCV-transmission among MSM without HIV infection. Therefore, the aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of hepatitis C among MSM without HIV diagnosis in Zurich (Switzerland).
Participants were recruited from a gay health centre and various locations such as dark rooms, saunas and cruising areas in Zurich. Participants self-completed a questionnaire assessing known and suspected risk factors for HCV-infection, and provided a blood sample for detection of past (antibodies) and present (core antigen, RNA) infections with HCV.
In total, 840 MSM aged 17-79 (median: 33 years) underwent HCV-testing and completed the questionnaire, among whom 19 reported living with HIV. Overall, seven tested positive for HCV-antibodies, and two were also positive for HCV core antigen and HCV-RNA–these two were immigrants, one from a country where HCV is endemic. None of the seven were aware of their infection. The seroprevalence of hepatitis C among the 821 non-HIV-diagnosed MSM was 0.37% (95%-CI: 0.12-1.69%), and one man harboured replicating virus (0.12%; 0.02-0.69%), resulting in a number needed to test of 821 to detect one active infection. Significant univariable associations of lifetime HCV-infection were found with known HIV-diagnosis (OR=72.7), being tattooed (OR=10.4), non-injection use of cocaine/amphetamines (OR=8.8), and non-Swiss origin (OR=8.5). For MSM without HIV-diagnosis, the only variable marginally associated with positive HCV-serostatus was being tattooed (OR=8.3). No significant associations were observed with reported injection drug use, unprotected anal intercourse, sexual practices that may lead to mucosal trauma, or proxy measures for group sex and lesion-prone STIs.
Our findings suggest that in Switzerland, hepatitis C among MSM without diagnosed HIV is not more prevalent than in the general population. We found no evidence of elevated rates of sexual transmission of HCV among MSM without HIV-infection. Therefore, we currently see no reason for promoting HCV-testing among all MSM in Switzerland.
PMCID: PMC3890510  PMID: 24393532
HCV; Hepatitis C prevalence; MSM; Switzerland; NIDU
18.  HBV and HCV seroprevalence and their correlation with CD4 cells and liver enzymes among HIV positive individuals at University of Gondar Teaching Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia 
Virology Journal  2013;10:171.
The co-existence of viral hepatitis caused by HBV and HCV become common causes of severe liver complication and immunological impairment among HIV infected individuals. The aim of this study was to assess the seroprevalence of HBV and HCV and their correlation with CD4 and liver enzyme levels among HAART naïve HIV positive individuals.
A Cross-sectional study was conducted from March-May, 2011 at University of Gondar Teaching Hospital, Northwest Ethiopia. HBV and HCV serological tests and liver enzymes as well as CD4 T cell level determination were assessed following the standard procedures. Socio-demographic data was collected by using structured questionnaire. The data was entered and analyzed by using SPSS version 20.0 statistical software and p < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
Among 400 study participants, the overall prevalence of HIV-viral hepatitis co-infection was 42(11.7%). The prevalence of HIV-HBV, HIV-HCV and HIV-HBV-HCV co-infections were 20(5.6%), 18(5.0%) and 4(1.1%) respectively. Study participants who had HIV-HBV, HIV-HCV and HIV-HBV-HCV co-infection have relatively raised mean liver enzyme levels (ALT, AST and ALP) than HIV mono-infected once. Individuals with HIV-HBV, HIV-HCV and HIV-HBV-HCV co-infection also had a lower mean CD4 levels than HIV mono-infected study participants. The mean CD4 value in males was lower than females.
The prevalence of HBV and HCV was higher than reports from general population of the country. Raised levels of liver enzymes and lowered mean CD4 counts were seen in HIV-HBV, HIV-HCV and HIV-HBV-HCV co-infections. These findings underscore the importance of screening all HIV positive individuals before initiating antiretroviral treatment.
PMCID: PMC3670208  PMID: 23721493
HBV; HCV; HIV; CD4 T cells; Liver enzymes
19.  Prevalence of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in a rural community with high risk for blood borne infections in central China 
Former illegal blood donation in the past decade has caused HIV outbreaks in some rural areas in China. Other HIV associated virus infections, such as human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) in such areas are still not well defined. In order to explore HHV8 and HCV seroprevalence and potential risk factors in such areas, a cross-sectional study with 305 HIV positive and 315 HIV negative subjects recruited from a rural county in Shanxi province was conducted, where illegal blood collection was reported. Interview questionnaires and serum testing were carried out with these participants. HCV and HHV8 seroprevalence were found to be higher in HIV positive than negative group (76.4% vs. 2.5%; 15.4% vs. 4.8% respectively), while the difference in HBV seroprevalence was not significant. Co-infection with HCV and HHV8 was also more prevalent in the HIV positive group. HIV status (odds ratio [OR], 2.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16–6.30) and HBV status (OR, 2.56; 95%CI: 1.14–5.75) were independently associated with HHV8 infection. HIV status (OR, 23.03; 95%CI: 9.95–53.27) and blood/plasma selling history (OR, 14.57; 95%CI: 7.49–28.23) were strongly associated with HCV infection. These findings demonstrate that both HHV8 and HCV infections are prevalent in this community. HIV infection is an important risk factor for both HHV8 and HCV infection. HBV infection is associated with HHV8 infection but not with HCV infection. It is possible that HHV8 and HBV, but not HCV, may have similar mode of transmission in this population.
PMCID: PMC2952344  PMID: 20545961
HIV; HHV8; HCV; Illegal blood donor; Seroprevalence
20.  Sexual behaviour, recreational drug use and hepatitis C co-infection in HIV-diagnosed men who have sex with men in the United Kingdom: results from the ASTRA study 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2014;17(4Suppl 3):19630.
Transmission of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United Kingdom is ongoing. We explore associations between self-reported sexual behaviours and drug use with cumulative HCV prevalence, as well as new HCV diagnosis.
ASTRA is a cross-sectional questionnaire study including 2,248 HIV-diagnosed MSM under care in the United Kingdom during 2011–2012. Socio-demographic, lifestyle, HIV-related and sexual behaviour data were collected during the study. One thousand seven hundred and fifty two (≥70%) of the MSM who consented to linkage of ASTRA and clinical information (prior to and post questionnaire) were included. Cumulative prevalence of HCV was defined as any positive anti-HCV or HCV-RNA test result at any point prior to questionnaire completion. We excluded 536 participants with clinical records only after questionnaire completion. Among the remaining 1,216 MSM, we describe associations of self-reported sexual behaviours and recreational drug use in the three months prior to ASTRA with cumulative HCV prevalence, using modified Poisson regression with robust error variances. New HCV was defined as any positive anti-HCV or HCV-RNA after questionnaire completion. We excluded 591 MSM who reported ever having a HCV diagnosis at questionnaire, any positive HCV result prior to questionnaire or did not have any HCV tests after the questionnaire. Among the remaining 1,195 MSM, we describe occurrence of new HCV diagnosis during follow-up according to self-reported sexual behaviours and recreational drug use three months prior to questionnaire (Fisher's exact test).
Cumulative HCV prevalence among MSM prior to ASTRA was 13.3% (95% CI 11.5–15.4). Clinic- and age-adjusted prevalence ratios (95% CI) for cumulative HCV prevalence were 4.6 (3.1–6.7) for methamphetamine, 6.5 (3.5–12.1) for injection drugs, 2.3 (1.6–3.4) for gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), 1.6 (1.3–2.0) for nitrites, 1.7 (1.5–2.0) for all condom-less sex (CLS), 2.1 (1.7–2.5) for CLS-HIV-seroconcordant, 1.3 (0.9–1.9) for CLS-HIV-serodiscordant, 2.0 (1.6–2.5) for group sex, 1.5 (1.2–1.9) for more than 10 new sexual partners in the past year. Among 1,195 MSM with 2.2 years [IQR 1.5–2.4] median follow-up, there were 7 new HCV cases during 2,033 person-years at risk. Incidence was 3.5 per 1,000 person-years (95% CI 1.6–7.2). New HCV was recorded in 1.3% MSM who used methamphetamine versus 0.5% MSM who did not (p=0.385); 3.7% MSM who injected recreational drugs versus 0.5% MSM who did not (p=0.148); 2.9% MSM who used GHB versus 0.4% MSM who did not (p=0.003); 1.5% MSM who used nitrites versus 0.2% MSM who did not (p=0.019); 1.1% MSM having CLS versus 0.3% MSM who did not (p=0.084); 1.7% MSM having CLS-HIV-serodiscordant versus 0.4% MSM who did not (p=0.069); 0.9% MSM who had CLS-HIV-seroconcordant versus 0.5% MSM who did not (p=0.318); 0.8% MSM who had group sex versus 0.5% MSM who did not (p=0.463); and 1.6% MSM with =10 new sexual partners in the previous year versus 0.2% MSM with no or up to 9 new partners (p=0.015).
Self-reported recent use of recreational and injection drugs, condom-less sex and multiple new sexual partners are associated with pre-existing HCV infection and, with the exception of injection drugs, appear to be predictive of new HCV co-infection among HIV-diagnosed MSM.
PMCID: PMC4224924  PMID: 25394134
21.  Molecular Characterization of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 and Hepatitis C Virus in Paid Blood Donors and Injection Drug Users in China 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(24):13591-13599.
China is facing a rapid upsurge in cases of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection due to large numbers of paid blood donors (PBD), injection drug users (IDU), and sexual partners of infected individuals. In this report, a total of 236 HIV-1-positive blood samples were collected from PBD, IDU, and their sexual partners in the most severely affected provinces, such as Henan, Yunnan, Guangxi, and Xinjiang. PCR was used to amplify the p17 region of gag and the C2-V3 region of env of HIV-1 and the 5′ noncoding region and a region of E1/E2 of HCV. Genetic characterization of viral sequences indicated that there are two major epidemics of HIV-1 and multiple HCV epidemics in China. The PBD and transfusion recipients in Henan harbored HIV-1 subtype B′, which is similar to the virus found in Thailand, and HCV genotypes 1b and 2a, whereas the IDU in Yunnan, Guangxi, and Xinjiang carried HIV-1 circulating recombinant forms 07 and 08, which resemble those in India, and HCV genotypes 1b, 3a, and 3b. Our findings show that the epidemics of HIV-1 and HCV infection in China are the consequences of multiple introductions. The distinct distribution patterns of both the HIV-1 and HCV genotypes in the different high-risk groups are tightly linked to the mode of transmission rather than geographic proximity. These findings provide information relevant to antiviral therapy and vaccine development in China and should assist public health workers in implementing measures to reduce the further dissemination of these viruses in the world's most populous nation.
PMCID: PMC533913  PMID: 15564470
22.  Prevalence, Distribution, and Correlates of Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Homeless Adults in Los Angeles 
Public Health Reports  2012;127(4):407-421.
We documented the prevalence, distribution, and correlates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among urban homeless adults.
We sampled a community-based probability sample of 534 homeless adults from 41 shelters and meal programs in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles, California. Participants were interviewed and tested for HCV, hepatitis B, and HIV. Outcomes included prevalence, distribution, and correlates of HCV infection; awareness of HCV positivity; and HCV counseling and treatment history.
Overall, 26.7% of the sample tested HCV-positive and 4.0% tested HIV-positive. In logistic regression analysis, independent predictors of HCV infection for the total sample included older age, less education, prison history, and single- and multiple-drug injection. Among lifetime drug injectors, independent predictors of HCV infection included older age, prison history, and no history of intranasal cocaine use. Among reported non-injectors, predictors of HCV infection included older age, less education, use of non-injection drugs, and three or more tattoos. Sexual behaviors and snorting or smoking drugs had no independent relationship with HCV infection. Among HCV-infected adults, nearly half (46.1%) were unaware of their infection.
Despite the high prevalence of HCV infection, nearly half of the cases were hidden and few had ever received any HCV-related treatment. While injection drug use was the strongest independent predictor, patterns of injection drug use, non-injection drug use, prison stays, and multiple tattoos were also independent predictors of HCV. Findings suggest that urgent interventions are needed to screen, counsel, and treat urban homeless adults for HCV infection.
PMCID: PMC3366378  PMID: 22753984
23.  Bridging the Epidemic: A Comprehensive Analysis of Prevalence and Correlates of HIV, Hepatitis C, and Syphilis, and Infection among Female Sex Workers in Guangxi Province, China 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0115311.
Female sex workers (FSWs) are at highest risk for contracting HIV and facilitating the current heterosexual HIV epidemic in Guangxi, China, yet little is known of the impact of recent harm reduction campaigns in the province. We analyzed sentinel surveillance data collected between 2010 and 2012 in Guangxi to explore correlations between the prevalence of HIV, hepatitis C (HCV), and syphilis and risk behaviors of different categories of FSWs in Guangxi.
The sentinel surveillance data for 5,1790 FSWs in all 14 prefectures and 64 city/county regions of Guangxi, China from 2010 to 2012 were collected. Differences between three categories of FSWs (grouped by venue) and disease trends (HIV, HCV, and syphilis) by year were analyzed using bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses as to evaluate risk factors correlated with HIV, HCV, or syphilis infection.
HIV and HCV prevalence remained constant across the three FSW categories; however, syphilis prevalence showed a significant increase from 5.7% to 7.3% for low-tier FSWs. Most cases with HIV, HCV, syphilis and intravenous drug use were seen in low-tier FSWs. Testing positive for HIV and syphilis were most correlated with being HCV positive (AOR 4.12 and AOR 4.36), only completing elementary school (AOR 3.71 and AOR 2.35), low tier venues (AOR 2.02 and AOR 2.00), and prior STI (AOR 1.40 and AOR 3.56), respectively. HCV infection was correlated with ever injecting drugs (AOR 60.65) and testing positive for syphilis (AOR 4.16) or HIV (AOR 3.74).
This study highlights that low tier FSWs with lower formal education levels are the most vulnerable population at risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV, HCV, and syphilis in Guangxi, China. Condom distribution with evolution to safer sex practices are the reasons to explain the non-increasing prevalence of HIV, HCV in Guangxi for 2010–2012.
PMCID: PMC4344209  PMID: 25723548
24.  Brief Intervention to Increase Emergency Department Uptake of Combined Rapid HIV and Hepatitis C Screening Among a Drug Misusing Population 
In this study, Increasing Viral Testing in the Emergency Department (InVITED), the authors investigated if a brief intervention about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) risk-taking behaviors and drug use and misuse in addition to a self-administered risk assessment, as compared to a self-administered risk assessment alone, increased uptake of combined screening for HIV and HCV, self-perception of HIV/HCV risk, and beliefs and opinions on HIV/HCV screening.
InVITED was a randomized, controlled trial conducted at two urban emergency departments (EDs) from February 2011 to March 2012. ED patients who self-reported drug use within the past three months were invited to enroll. Drug misuse severity and need for a brief or more intensive intervention was assessed using the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST). Participants were randomly assigned to one of two study arms: a self-administered HIV/HCV risk assessment alone (control arm), or the assessment plus a brief intervention about their drug misuse and screening for HIV/HCV (intervention arm). Beliefs on the value of combined HIV/HCV screening, self-perception of HIV/HCV risk, and opinions on HIV/HCV screening in the ED were measured in both study arms before the HIV/HCV risk assessment (pre), after the assessment in the control arm, and after the brief intervention in the intervention arm (post). Participants in both study arms were offered free combined rapid HIV/HCV screening. Uptake of screening was compared by study arm. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to evaluate factors related to uptake of screening.
Of the 395 participants in the study, the median age was 28 years (IQR 23 to 38 years), 44.8% were female, 82.3% had ever been tested for HIV, and 67.3% had ever been tested for HCV. Uptake of combined rapid HIV/HCV screening was nearly identical by study arm (64.5% vs. 65.2%; Δ = −0.7%; 95% CI = −10.1% to 8.7%). Of the 256 screened, none had reactive HIV antibody tests, but seven (2.7%) had reactive HCV antibody tests. Multivariable logistic regression analysis results indicated that uptake of screening was not related to study arm assignment, total ASSIST drug scores, need for an intervention for drug misuse, or HIV/HCV sexual risk assessment scores. However, uptake of screening was greater among participants who indicated placing a higher value on combined rapid HIV/HCV screening for themselves and all ED patients, and those with higher levels of perceived HIV/HCV risk. Uptake of combined rapid HIV/HCV screening was not related to changes in beliefs regarding the value of combined HIV/HCV screening or self-perceived HIV/HCV risk (post- vs. pre-risk assessment with or without a brief intervention). Opinions regarding the ED as a venue for combined rapid HIV/HCV screening were not related to uptake of screening.
Uptake of combined rapid HIV/HCV screening is high and considered valuable among drug using and misusing ED patients with little concern about the ED as a screening venue. The brief intervention investigated in this study does not appear to change beliefs regarding screening, self-perceived risk, or uptake of screening for HIV/HCV in this population. Initial beliefs regarding the value of screening and self-perceived risk for these infections predict uptake of screening.
PMCID: PMC4135533  PMID: 25125271
25.  Risk Behaviors, Prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Population Size of Current Injection Drug Users in a China-Myanmar Border City: Results from a Respondent-Driven Sampling Survey in 2012 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106899.
Injection drug use has been the major cause of HIV/AIDS in China in the past two decades. We measured the prevalences of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence and their associated risk factors among current injection drug users (IDUs) in Ruili city, a border region connecting China with Myanmar that has been undergoing serious drug use and HIV spread problems. An estimate of the number of current IDUs is also presented.
In 2012, Chinese IDUs who had injected within the past six months and aged ≥18 years were recruited using a respondent-driven sampling (RDS) technique. Participants underwent interviews and serological testing for HIV, HBV, HCV and syphilis. Logistic regression indentified factors associated with HIV and HCV infections. Multiplier method was used to obtain an estimate of the size of the current IDU population via combining available service data and findings from our survey.
Among 370 IDUs recruited, the prevalence of HIV and HCV was 18.3% and 41.5%, respectively. 27.1% of participants had shared a needle/syringe in their lifetime. Consistent condom use rates were low among both regular (6.8%) and non-regular (30.4%) partners. Factors independently associated with being HIV positive included HCV infection, having a longer history of injection drug use and experience of needle/syringe sharing. Participants with HCV infection were more likely to be HIV positive, have injected more types of drugs, have shared other injection equipments and have unprotected sex with regular sex partners. The estimated number of current IDUs in Ruili city was 2,714 (95% CI: 1,617–5,846).
IDUs may continue to be a critical subpopulation for transmission of HIV and other infections in this region because of the increasing population and persistent high risk of injection and sexual behaviours. Developing innovative strategies that can improve accessibility of current harm reduction services and incorporate more comprehensive contents is urgently needed.
PMCID: PMC4159231  PMID: 25203256

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