Hepatic steatosis has been reported in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection. However, the features of steatohepatitis, including cytologic ballooning and pericellular fibrosis, its risk factors, and the impact on disease severity in such patients are unknown. To assess this, we prospectively reviewed liver histology in consecutive coinfected patients to define the prevalence and severity of the features of steatohepatitis, its risk factors, and its impact on the severity of liver disease. A total of 222 subjects (74% male, mean age 45, 78% African American, 90% genotype 1) were studied. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 26, and 18% had a BMI >30. The prevalence of risk factors for steatosis were: diabetes (31%), hypertension (15%), dyslipidemia (8%), metabolic syndrome (9%), and alcohol abuse (21%). Steatosis was present in 23% and steatohepatitis was present in 17%. The steatosis was mild (5%-33%) in 19%, and moderate to severe (>33%) in 4%. Cytologic ballooning and pericellular fibrosis were present in 30% and 13%, respectively. The mean Ishak score was 6.9, and 33% had bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis. Both steatosis and cytologic ballooning were associated with BMI, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance, and presence of either was strongly associated with advanced fibrosis (P < 0.0001). By multiple logistic regressions, the following associations were identified: increased BMI, diabetes, and genotype 3 with steatosis; diabetes with cytologic ballooning; and longer duration of infection with steatohepatitis.
Conclusion: Steatosis and steatohepatitis are present in 23% and 30%, respectively, of patients with HIV/HCV coinfection, and both are associated with an increased risk of having advanced fibrosis. Although we did identify genotype 3, increased BMI, and diabetes as risk factors, we found no independent association with antiretroviral therapy.