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Keywords:

  • hepatitis C virus;
  • human immunodeficiency virus;
  • saliva;
  • clearance;
  • interferon

Objective

To determine hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA clearance from blood and saliva of HIV–HCV-coinfected patients undergoing combined therapy with pegylated interferon plus ribavirin (PEG-IFN-RIB).

Subjects and Methods

Study group was formed of 60 HIV-infected patients with chronic hepatitis C who were starting treatment with PEG-IFN-RIB. Blood and saliva samples were taken at baseline, at the end of treatment and 24 and 48 weeks later. A nested RT-PCR technique was used to detect HCV-RNA in saliva.

Results

HCV-RNA was detected in saliva at baseline in 64.7% of patients. Thirty-four patients completed follow-up. The response rate (undetectable HCV-RNA) in blood was 79.4% at the end of treatment; 55.8% at 24 weeks after the end of treatment and 50% at 48 weeks. HCV was detected in saliva of 13 (38.2%) patients at the end of treatment and in 18 (52.9%) patients at 24 and 48 weeks later. Concordance of HCV clearance from blood and saliva reached its maximum value at 48 weeks after the end of treatment (odds ratio, 112.51).

Conclusion

In HIV–HCV-coinfected patients responders to PEG-IFN-RIB, the salivary glands do not appear to be a sanctuary site for HCV, although viral clearance from saliva may be slower than from blood.