Clinical presentation and course of acute hepatitis C infection in HIV-infected patients

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2006 Jan 1;41(1):31-6. doi: 10.1097/01.qai.0000191281.77954.27.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has become a significant source of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected patients. However, little is known about the clinical presentation and course of acute HCV infection in this population. This study reports the outcomes of acute HCV infection in 9 HIV-infected men. Sex with men was the only reported risk factor for HCV infection in 6 of the subjects. Clinical presentation of acute HCV ranged from incidentally discovered elevated transaminases to severe liver dysfunction requiring hospitalization. At the time of HCV diagnosis, 8 of 9 patients had CD4+ counts >250 cells/mm(3), and 6 had HIV viral loads of < or =5000 copies/mL. Eight patients were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Outcome of these acute HCV infections varied. Five patients experienced virologic clearance, 2 in whom virus cleared spontaneously and 3 who were treated with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Four patients developed chronic infection, one of whom had a relapse during HCV treatment and 3 of whom were untreated. All 4 patients to whom HCV therapy was administered experienced significant anemia or neutropenia, necessitating dose reduction or support with growth factors. Prompt recognition of acute HCV infection may minimize antiretroviral treatment interruption and will allow early treatment, which may improve virologic clearance. Unexplained transaminase elevations in HIV-infected patients, including men who have sex with men, should trigger an evaluation for acute HCV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • California / epidemiology
  • Genotype
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies