Twin epidemics: HIV and Hepatitis C in the urban Northeast

May 17, 2013 by Helen Dodson
Twin epidemics: HIV and Hepatitis C in the urban Northeast
Credit: Shutterstock

A new Yale study looks at the scope and consequences of a burgeoning health problem in the cities of the U.S. Northeast: concurrent infection with both HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV). The study appears online in the May 14 issue of the Public Library of Science (PLoS One).

HIV and HCV are the two most prevalent in the United States. But standard population surveys are underestimates, due to the exclusion of high-risk homeless and criminal justice populations.

The Yale team studied more than 8300 individuals who underwent health screenings and assessments for HIV and HCV at the community health care van (CHCV), a mobile medical clinic in New Haven, Connecticut. Their goal was to unravel the true risk factors for each disease individually, and for co-infection—infection with both simultaneously—by correlating risk factors and innovative Arc GIS mapping techniques.

Eight percent of those studied were infected with HIV. Ten percent were infected with HCV, and just over a fourth were co-infected with both HIV and HCV. Individuals infected with either one or both viruses reported crack and were of older age than non-infected counterparts. HIV/HCV co-infected individuals were more likely to be men who had sex with men, people who inject drugs, and those who had not completed high school. HCV infection alone correlated with a history of and being Hispanic, and alone correlated with having had syphilis.

The Yale researchers believe that although HIV and HCV share common risk behaviors for transmission, they are distinct in geographical distribution as well as in ways that have important implications for future surveillance, healthcare delivery, and disease prevention.

The Yale team believes this study could "give another geographical and clinical dimension to HIV/HCV co-infection as not just an additive epidemic but rather the synergy of unique risk factors that merit specialized treatment and care," said lead author Dr. Jamie Morano of the infectious diseases section at Yale School of Medicine.

Senior author Dr. Frederick Altice added, "We must also be poised to develop or create models of treatment delivery for treating these complicated patients, since they often don't routinely interface with traditional systems of care."

Explore further: HIV-HCV coinfection speeds HCV-related liver fibrosis

Related Stories

HIV-HCV coinfection speeds HCV-related liver fibrosis

February 27, 2013
(HealthDay)—Individuals who are coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) exhibit liver fibrosis similar to that of individuals without HIV who are nearly 10 years older, according to research published online Feb. ...

Only half newly reported HCV cases receiving follow-up test

May 9, 2013
(HealthDay)—The lack of a hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA test for approximately one-half of persons newly reported as HCV infected suggests that testing and reporting must improve to detect all persons with current infection, ...

Hepatitis C is transmitted by unprotected sex between HIV-infected men

July 21, 2011
Sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is considered rare. But a new study by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides substantial ...

Sex between monogamous heterosexuals rarely source of hepatitis C infection

March 19, 2013
Individuals infected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have nothing to fear from sex in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. Transmission of HCV from an infected partner during sex is rare according to new research published ...

Researchers pilot new acute hepatitis C screening strategy for HIV-infected patients

October 18, 2011
Researchers at The Miriam Hospital demonstrated a practical strategy for regularly screening HIV-infected patients for acute hepatitis C virus infection (HCV), a "silent epidemic" that is rising undetected in this population ...

African American women with HIV/HCV less likely to die from liver disease

November 1, 2012
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 ...

Recommended for you

Paris spotlight on latest in AIDS science

July 21, 2017
Some 6,000 HIV experts gather in Paris from Sunday to report advances in AIDS science as fading hopes of finding a cure push research into new fields.

Scientists elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV in calves

July 20, 2017
Scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health have achieved a significant step forward, eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) to HIV by immunizing calves. The findings offer insights for HIV vaccine ...

Heart toxin reveals new insights into HIV-1 integration in T cell genome

July 20, 2017
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 may have evolved to integrate its genetic material into certain immune-cell-activating genes in humans, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Scientists capture first high-resolution image of key HIV protein transitional state

July 13, 2017
A new, three-dimensional snapshot of HIV demonstrates the radical structural transformations that enable the virus to recognize and infect host cells, according to a new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute ...

Barrier to autoimmune disease may open door to HIV, study suggests

July 11, 2017
Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine have discovered that a process that protects the body from autoimmune disease also prevents the immune system from generating antibodies that can neutralize the ...

Team tests best delivery mode for potential HIV vaccine

June 20, 2017
For decades, HIV has successfully evaded all efforts to create an effective vaccine but researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LJI) are steadily inching ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.