A new study shows that African American women coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are less likely to die from liver disease than Caucasian or Hispanic women. Findings in the November issue of Hepatology, a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, indicate that lower liver-related mortality in African American women was independent of other causes of death.
Medical evidence reports that nearly five million Americans are infected with HCV, with 80% having active virus in their blood (viremia). Moreover, prior research found that one third of those with HIV are co-infected with HCV—the second leading cause of death among those with HIV. Studies also show that while HCV clearance (elimination of the virus spontaneously or with treatment) is lower among African Americans, once chronically infected this group seems to develop less fibrosis and liver inflammation compared to other racial groups.
“Despite much study on racial differences in hepatitis C development, it remains unclear how race impacts liver-related death in those with HCV or HIV/HCV co-infection,” said Dr. Monika Sarkar from the University of California, San Francisco and lead author of the current study examining racial differences and mortality among women with HIV and HCV.