Awareness of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection status is expected to influence risk behaviors. In 2004-2005, injection drug users (IDUs) recruited from syringe exchange programs (SEPs) and methadone clinics in Montreal, Canada, were interviewed on drug use behaviors (past 6 months) and HCV testing. Subjects (n = 230) were classified as low/intermediate risk (20.4% borrowed drug preparation equipment only) and high risk (19.6% borrowed syringes), and 54.5% reported being HCV positive. Logistic regression modeling showed that compared to no risk (60% borrowed nothing), low/intermediate risk was associated with fewer noninjecting social network members, poor physical health, and problems obtaining sterile injecting equipment. High risk was associated with all of these factors except social networks. HCV status was not associated with any level of risk. Improved access to sterile injecting equipment may be more important than knowledge of HCV status in reducing injection risks among this IDU population. The study limitations are noted and recommendations discussed.
After the marathon-like challenge presented by the 16th International AIDS Conference held in Toronto a month prior--a challenge that tested the stamina of even the youngest and fittest of conference-goers--the 46th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), held September 27-30, 2006, in San Francisco, was a welcome relief in its staid and singular focus on the presentation of data offering insights into the challenges a variety of patients and their physicians are facing in the second decade of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), as well as reviews of how to make optimal use of antiretroviral regimens constructed from within the existing HAART armamentarium. The big news at this year's ICAAC, however, was on the antiretroviral pipeline, with previews of how a new generation of drugs may help make the difference between life and death for countless millions of men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS.
Objective: Liver transplantation (LT) is a life-saving procedure for patients with end-stage liver disease, acute liver failure or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Patients with known alcoholic liver cirrhosis (ALC) are usually assessed by an addiction specialist, but patients with other liver diseases may also exhibit harmful drinking. This study aims to assess the drinking habits in LT-recipients with or without a diagnosis of ALC. Patients and methods: Between April 2012 and December 2015, 190 LT-recipients were interviewed using the Lifetime Drinking History (LDH) and the Addiction Severity Index (ASI). Patients were categorized according to their diagnoses: ALC (group A, n?=?39), HCC or hepatitis C (group B, n?=?56) or other liver diseases (group C, n?=?95). Data were analysed using descriptive statistic methods. Results: Fifteen of 95 patients (15.8%) in group C - a cohort without suspected addiction problems - had either alcohol consumption or binge drinking within the upper quartile of the overall cohort. The aetiology of liver disease in this subgroup included mainly cholestatic and cryptogenic liver disease. Illicit drugs had been used by 35% of all patients. Cannabis and amphetamine were the most common drugs and had the longest duration of regular use. Conclusions: LT candidates without known alcohol or drug use may have a clinically significant consumption of alcohol and previous illicit drug use. Efforts should be put on identification of these patients during LT evaluation. The use of structured questionnaires such as the ASI and the LDH could facilitate detection of alcohol and drug problems.
Antibodies to hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B serology and liver enzymes were examined in 137 Finnish haemophiliac patients to detect signs of chronic viral hepatitis and its possible aetiological associations. The prevalence of raised alanine aminotransferase values was 37%. These were significantly associated with hepatitis C seropositivity but not with hepatitis B antibodies, severity of haemophilia or the type of clotting factor used in replacement therapy. The prevalence of hepatitis C seropositivity was 50%; it was significantly associated with severe haemophilia and with the use of large pool concentrates. The hepatitis C virus seems to be the major cause of chronic liver disease transmitted by clotting factors also in Finland, despite a somewhat lower seroprevalence than described elsewhere so far.
Despite potential negative consequences, HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infected patients may discontinue antiretroviral treatment (ART) for several reasons. We examined the impact of ART interruption on liver fibrosis progression in co-infected adults, using the aspartate aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index (APRI) as a surrogate marker of liver fibrosis.
Data were analyzed from a multisite prospective cohort of 541 HIV-HCV co-infected adults. ART interruption was included as a time-updated variable and defined as the cessation of all antiretrovirals for at least 14 days. The primary endpoint was the development of an APRI score at least 1.5. Time-dependent Cox proportional hazards regression and inverse probability-of-treatment weighting (IPTW) in a marginal structural model were used to evaluate the association of baseline and time-varying covariates with developing significant fibrosis.
Patients were followed for a median of 1.02 years; 10% (n = 53) interrupted ART and 10% (n = 53) developed significant fibrosis. After accounting for potential confounders, including CD4 T-cell count, HIV viral load, baseline APRI score, age and gender, the hazard ratio for ART interruption was 2.52 (95% confidence interval 1.20-5.28). Use of IPTW resulted in a similar effect estimate, suggesting that mediation by time-varying confounders was negligible.
ART interruption was associated with an increased risk of fibrosis progression in HIV-HCV co-infection that was only partially accounted for by HIV viral load and CD4 T-cell counts. Our findings suggest that liver disease progression observed in ART-treated co-infected patients is partly due to the consequences of treatment interruptions.
Despite demonstrated efficacy in HIV-hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection, not all patients initiate, complete or achieve success with HCV antiviral therapy.
All HIV-HCV coinfected patient consults received at The Ottawa Hospital Viral Hepatitis Clinic (Ottawa, Ontario) between June 2000 and September 2006 were identified using a clinical database. A descriptive analysis of primary and contributing factors accounting for why patients did not initiate HCV therapy, as well as the therapeutic outcomes of treated patients, was conducted.
One hundred two consults were received. Sixty-seven per cent of patients did not initiate HCV therapy. The key primary reasons included: HIV therapy was more urgently needed (22%), loss to follow-up (12%), patients were deemed unlikely to progress to advanced liver disease (18%) and patient refusal (12%). Many patients had secondary factors contributing to the decision not to treat, including substance abuse (23%) and psychiatric illness (14%). Overall, 59% of untreated patients (40 of 68) were eventually lost to follow-up. Thirty-three per cent of referred patients started HCV therapy. Twenty-seven of 42 courses (64%) were interrupted prematurely for reasons such as virological nonresponse (48%), psychiatric complications (10%) and physical side effects (7%). Of all treatment recipients, 12 of 42 full courses of therapy were completed and three remained on HCV medication. Overall, eight of the 102 coinfected patients studied (8%) achieved a sustained virological response.
Not all HIV-HCV coinfected patients who are deemed to be in need of HCV treatment are initiating therapy. Only a minority of patients who do receive treatment achieve success. Implementation of HIV treatment, patient retention, attention to substance abuse and mental health care should be the focus of efforts designed to increase HCV treatment uptake and success. This can be best achieved within a multidisciplinary model of health care delivery.
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Prior to the introduction of virally inactivated clotting factor concentrates, the majority of individuals with congenital bleeding disorders became infected with the hepatitis C virus. Although liver biopsy is valuable in prognosis and guiding antiviral therapy, there is a reluctance to perform biopsies in this population because of the risk of hemorrhage. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety of transjugular liver biopsy, and the usefulness of evaluating liver histology in this patient population. Liver histopathology was assessed by the METAVIR index and compared with corrected sinusoidal pressures, platelet counts, and abdominal ultrasonography. Liver biopsy was performed at seven Canadian centers in 65 patients with hemophilia or von Willebrand's disease. Biopsies were done on an outpatient basis, followed by a 4-hr observation period in hospital. Normal hemostasis was maintained during the peribiopsy period, with follow-up doses of factor concentrate self administered by the patient at home. One patient (1.4%) had significant bleeding leading to readmission and red cell transfusion. Liver histology showed 14 patients (22%) had cirrhosis. Ten patients had elevated corrected sinusoidal pressures; 7 of these (70%) had cirrhosis on biopsy, and the other 3 (30%) likely had cirrhosis although histology showed stage 3 fibrosis. This series represents the largest reported experience of transjugular biopsy in individuals with congenital bleeding disorders. We conclude that this procedure can be safely performed on an outpatient basis. The diagnosis of cirrhosis and/or portal hypertension was made in a substantial proportion of individuals (26%), all of whom had asymptomatic liver disease.
The transition from regular use of cyclosporine to the newer calcineurin-inhibitors, such as tacrolimus, has been suggested as a contributing factor to the "era effect" of worsening outcomes of post-transplant HCV recurrence. This retrospective medical chart review of 458 patients was undertaken to evaluate the role of immunosuppressant choice (cyclosporine vs. tacrolimus) in determining virologic response and clinical outcomes of post-liver transplant HCV infection recurrence. Our results showed that patients undergoing interferon-based treatment taking cyclosporine have significantly better odds (OR: 2.59, P = 0.043) of presenting a sustained viral response (66.7%) compared to tacrolimus (52.8%). This did not result in a significant effect on post-liver transplantation clinical events including HCV-related deaths, graft loss, fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis, hepatocellular carcinoma or graft rejection. Other variables, which showed a significant relationship with the achievement of sustained viral response included donor age (OR 0.96, P = 0.001) and HCV genotype 1 infection (OR 0.05, P