Objectives The aim of the study was to evaluate the possible effect of hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection on the viroimmunological outcomes of HIV-1 infection.
Methods A cross-sectional study of 805 patients with active HCV infection receiving or not receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) was carried out.
Results A number of parameters were significantly associated with undetectable HIV-1 viral load in univariate analyses, such as age, toxic habits, CD4 cell count, liver test results, HCV viral load and ART. However, only current ART (P<0.0001), CD4 cell count (P<0.0001), age (P=0.004) and current injecting drug use (P=0.02) were independently associated with undetectable viral load in multivariate analysis. None of the many HCV- and liver fibrosis-related parameters analysed showed a significant association with HIV-1 viral load or CD4 cell count in multivariate analyses, with the exception of the annual fibrosis progression index which almost reached statistical significance in the subgroup of ART-untreated patients (P=0.06) and was inversely predictive of CD4 cell count in the whole group (P=0.007). However, its relative weight was modest, as it only explained 0.8% of the total variability in CD4 cell count.
Conclusions HCV-related parameters did not significantly affect virological and immunological outcomes of HIV-1 infection in ART-treated and untreated patients. In contrast, liver fibrosis, as measured using the annual fibrosis progression index, was inversely associated with CD4 cell count, although its weight was relatively small. Therefore, HCV- and liver fibrosis-related factors do not seem appreciably to influence these outcomes from a practical viewpoint in ART-naïve patients, nor impair CD4 and HIV-1 viral load responses to ART.