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Abstract

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection modifies the natural history of chronic hepatitis C, thus promoting more rapid progression to cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease. The objective of our study was to determine whether hepatitis C virus (HCV) clearance is associated with improved clinical outcomes in patients positive for HIV and HCV. It was an ambispective cohort study carried out in 11 HIV units in Spain and involved 711 consecutive patients positive for HIV/HCV who started interferon plus ribavirin therapy between 2000 and 2005. We measured sustained virologic response (SVR), i.e., undetectable HCV RNA at 24 weeks after the end of treatment, and clinical outcomes, defined as death (liver-related or non–liver-related), liver decompensation, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver transplantation. Of 711 patients who were positive for HIV/HCV, 31% had SVR. During a mean follow-up of 20.8 months (interquartile range: 12.2-38.7), the incidence rates per 100 person-years of overall mortality, liver-related mortality, and liver decompensation were 0.46, 0.23, and 0.23 among patients with SVR and 3.12, 1.65, and 4.33 among those without SVR (P = 0.003, 0.028, and <0.001 by the log-rank test), respectively. Cox regression analysis adjusted for fibrosis, HCV genotype, HCV RNA viral load, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clinical category, and nadir CD4+ cell count showed that the adjusted hazard ratio of liver-related events was 8.92 (95% confidence interval, 1.20; 66.11, P = 0.032) for nonresponders in comparison with responders and 4.96 (95% confidence interval, 2.27; 10.85, P < 0.001) for patients with fibrosis grade of F3-F4 versus those with F0-F2.Because this was not a prospective study, selection and survival biases may influence estimates of effect. Conclusion: Our results suggest that the achievement of an SVR after interferon-ribavirin therapy in patients coinfected with HIV/HCV reduces liver-related complications and mortality. (HEPATOLOGY 2009.)