Many extrahepatic manifestations, including rheumatic diseases, have been reported to be associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. In order to investigate the prevalence of HCV infection among patients with rheumatic diseases, in the present study we interviewed 367 patients and tested their blood samples for HCV antibodies (anti-HCV) by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Anti-HCV-reactive samples were retested for confirmation by a line immunoassay and also for HCV RNA detection by the polymerase chain reaction. HCV RNA-positive samples were genotyped by INNO-LIPA. An overall HCV infection prevalence of 1.9% (7/367) was found. Of the 7 HCV-infected patients, 4 had systemic lupus erythematosus and 3 rheumatoid arthritis, resulting in positivity rates of 2.3 and 3.4%, respectively. HCV RNA genotyping revealed the presence of subtypes 1a (57.1%), 1b (28.6%) and 3a (14.3%). The clinical course was favorable for all HCV-infected patients, except one, who died due to renal insufficiency related to lupus nephritis. These results demonstrate a low HCV infection prevalence among the population studied. In the few positive cases, we observed no adverse influence of this infection on the clinical evolution of the rheumatic disease.