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Hepatitis C Infection May Curb Lipid Problems in HIV

Co-infection protects against lipid complications due to antiretroviral therapy

THURSDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- HIV-infected patients on antiviral therapy who are co-infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) do not seem to have the lipid complications observed in those infected with HIV-only, researchers report in the Jan. 2 issue of AIDS.

Curtis L. Cooper, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, reviewed lipid data from 357 HIV-infected patients and 115 patients co-infected with HIV and HCV who were receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

The researchers found that mean cholesterol increased by 1.24 mmol/L in HIV-infected patients compared with only 0.01 mmol/L in co-infected patients after one year. HAART was interrupted due to metabolic complications in 8 percent of HIV-infected patients but less than 1 percent of co-infected patients. Lipid-lowering therapy was initiated in 8 percent of HIV-infected patients but none of the co-infected patients, the authors found. Lastly, co-infected patients who responded to interferon to treat their HCV had an increase in cholesterol, while those who did not respond to treatment did not.

"HCV co-infection appears to confer a degree of protection from HAART-related lipid complications," Cooper and colleagues conclude.

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