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APASL 2014: Latest Hepatitis C Treatments Offer Good News for HIV/HCV Coinfected People

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People coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C are at risk of faster liver disease progression, so they stand to benefit even more from new direct-acting antiviral therapies that could cure hepatitis C as effectively and be equally well-tolerated in HIV/HCV coinfected and HCV monoinfected patients, Gregory Dore said at the 23rd Conference of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL 2014) last week in Brisbane.

Below is an edited excerpt from a media release issued by APASL describing Dore's remarks.

Good News for HIV Patients with Latest Hep C Treatments

March 12, 2014 -- People living with both HIV and hepatitis C will be amongst those to benefit the most as the new and improved hepatitis C drugs become widely available.

According to Professor Gregory Dore from the Kirby Institute, hepatitis C progresses about twice as fast in people who are also infected with HIV making effective treatment particularly important for this population.

"HIV infection increases the risk of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer in people who are also infected with hepatitis C," he said.

Speaking at the 2014 meeting of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of Liver (APASL) in Brisbane this week, Professor Dore said people with HIV were now living long enough to develop comorbidities such as the severe liver disease associated with other infections.

"Unfortunately, the HIV makes it more difficult for them to tolerate the current interferon based treatments for hepatitis C which are also less effective when there are co-infections."

"Preliminary data with the new direct acting antivirals is very promising and we are hoping the 90% cure rates will be replicated in people with co-infections," he said.

Professor Dore said about 3,000 Australians, or 10%-12% of the HIV population of 28,000, were coinfected with hepatitis C.

"We were fortunate in Australia because we had very low rates of HIV in injecting drug users. However in countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Southern China, more than 90% of their HIV population who are injecting drug users also have hepatitis C."

He said once people were stabilized on the antiretroviral medications for their HIV, it would be relatively easy to start the 12-week curative treatment for hepatitis C.

Professor Dore said he was optimistic that a range of partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and local manufacturers in poorer countries with a high disease burden could produce low-cost generic versions of the new hepatitis C drugs as happened with HIV drugs.

3/21/14

Source

Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver. Good News for HIV Patients with Latest Hep C Treatments. Press release. March 12, 2014.