HIV/HCV coinfection in clinical practice.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) frequently co-exist due to shared routes of transmission. In the past, the impact of HCV on overall morbidity and mortality of coinfected patients was minimal due to the poor prognosis of HIV. However, since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), HCV has become a significant pathogen in this population. HIV clearly exacerbates HCV infection and accelerates progression to cirrhosis, end-stage liver disease, and hepatocellular carcinoma. There is debate over whether HCV influences the natural history of HIV. Given the high prevalence of coinfection and the accelerated liver damage, HCV treatment has become a priority in these patients. There are new data on pegylated interferon (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin (RBV) therapy for HCV in coinfected patients. The therapy is well tolerated and safe, although it appears to be slightly less effective than in monoinfected patients. The risk of HAART-related hepatotoxicity is greater in coinfected patients and therefore requires special consideration and close monitoring.