Those who are coinfected with both HIV and genotype 3 of hepatitis C virus (HCV) responded about the same to interferon and ribavirin as those with only hep C in a recent Italian trial, aidsmap reports. Investigators conducted a retrospective analysis of 113 participants coinfected with HIV and hep C and 627 hep C monoinfected participants receiving treatment for hep C for the first time between 2005 and 2010. The scientists presented their findings at the 53rd Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC).

Ninety-five percent of the coinfected participants had genotype 3 of hep C, while among the monoinfected group, 25 percent had genotype 2 and 55 percent genotype 3. Close to a quarter of the coinfected participants had advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis, compared with 5 percent of the monoinfected group.

In addition to ribavirin, two-thirds of the study participants received pegylated interferon alfa-2a and one-third received pegylated interferon alfa-2b. (Today's treatment involves pegylated interferon, ribavirin and one of two approved protease inhibitors; so this treatment paradigm is out of date.) All of the coinfected participants were treated for 48 weeks, while the monoinfected participants were permitted to stop treatment after 24 weeks if they either had no or moderate fibrosis, as well as a low hep C viral load at the outset and rapid virological response by the fourth week of treatment.

The coinfected group had an average sustained virologic response (SVR, considered a cure) of 58 percent, compared with an average SVR of 67 percent among the monoinfected participants.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the conference abstract, click here.