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Keywords:

  • Adherence;
  • antiretroviral treatment;
  • hepatitis C;
  • HIV;
  • intravenous drug users

ABSTRACT

Aims  Treatment for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) may be delayed significantly in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/HCV coinfected patients on antiretroviral treatment (ART) for fear that its burden could compromise ART adherence. However, the effect such treatment has on ART adherence in observational settings remains largely unknown. Longitudinal data were used to investigate the relationship between initiating HCV treatment and adherence to ART in HIV/HCV coinfected patients.

Design  The French national prospective cohort of patients coinfected with HIV and HCV (ANRS-CO-13-HEPAVIH) is a multi-centre cohort.

Setting  Seventeen out-patient hospital services delivering HIV and HCV care in France.

Participants  HIV/HCV coinfected patients on ART (n = 593 patients, 976 visits).

Measurements  Self-administered questionnaires and medical records. A mixed logistic regression model based on generalized estimates equations (GEE) to identify factors associated with non-adherence to ART.

Findings  Among the 593 patients, 36% were classified as non-adherent to ART at the enrolment visit and 12% started HCV treatment during follow-up. ART adherence was not associated statistically with HCV treatment initiation. The proportion of patients maintaining adherence or becoming adherent to ART for those starting HCV treatment was higher than in the rest of the sample (P = 0.07). After multiple adjustment for known correlates, such as poor housing conditions, binge drinking, recent drug use and depressive symptoms, patients who initiated HCV treatment were less likely to be non-adherent to ART [odds ratio (95% confidence interval) = 0.41 (0.24–0.71)].

Conclusions  Engaging human immunodeficiency virus/hepatitis C virus coinfected individuals in hepatitis C virus treatment is associated with high adherence to antiretroviral treatment. Physicians should prioritize hepatitis C virus treatment as part of a multi-disciplinary approach.