Vertical transmission of HCV is increased among HIV-1/HCV coinfected women and is related to HCV viral load. In this study we assessed clinical and demographic factors associated with HCV viremia in a cohort of young pregnant and non-pregnant mothers coinfected with HIV-1.
A cross-sectional clinic-based study nested within a prospective cohort study.
From 1988 to 2000, HIV-1 + pregnant and non-pregnant women with children followed in a large maternal, child and adolescent HIV-1 clinic were evaluated for HCV infection using EIA 3.0. HCV RNA levels were determined for HCV antibody + women using polymerase chain reaction. Demographic and clinical characteristics between HCV-RNA(+) and HCV-RNA(−) women and between pregnant and non-pregnant HIV-1/HCV coinfected women were compared using univariate and multivariate analyses.
Among 359 HIV-1(+) women, 84 (23%) were HCV-ab + and 49/84 (58%) had detectable HCV-RNA in plasma. Median age was 31. CD4 counts, HIV-1 RNA levels and demographic characteristics were similar for viremic and non-viremic women and pregnant and non-pregnant women. However, viremic women were more likely to report a history of (88% versus 43%; P < 0.001) or active injection drug use (AIDU) (83% versus 29%; P < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis showed that HCV viremia was associated significantly with AIDU (adjusted OR: 15.17; 95% CI: 3.56, 64.56) after adjusting for age, race, number of sexual partners, pregnancy status, CD4 counts and HIV-1 viral load.
In this cohort of young HIV-1 and HCV coinfected women, HCV viremia was associated strongly with active injection drug use, perhaps due to reinfection or reactivation of HCV. Thus, careful evaluation for HCV infection and counseling related to drug use may be necessary.