Women living with hepatitis C are more inclined to have liver stiffness if they have larger waistlines, Healio.com reports. Those with hep C and HIV coinfection are also more likely to have liver stiffness than those with just HIV. Reporting their findings in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, investigators measured the liver stiffness of women from the multicenter, prospective Women's Interagency HIV Study between November 2010 and April 2012. The cohort included 165 women with HIV, 14 with hep C, 78 with both viruses and 57 with neither virus.

The median liver stiffness in the coinfected group, 7.1 kilopascals (kPa), was higher than that of those who had neither virus or who had HIV alone—both groups had a median stiffness of 4.4 kPa. The investigators found that those coinfected with hep C and HIV had a 74.2 percent increase in liver stiffness compared with noninfected participants.

For every 10 centimeter (just under 4 inches) increase in waist circumference among those with hep C or hep C and HIV, the investigators found an 18.7 percent increased liver stiffness. Those who had an AIDS diagnosis had a 35.5 percent increase in liver stiffness if they were coinfected and 12.9 percent if they were HIV monoinfected. For every 10-fold increase in HIV viral load among those monoinfected with HIV, there was a 7.3 percent increase in stiffness. Hispanic participants with just HIV had a 31.4 percent increase in liver stiffness when compared with Caucasians.

Forty-seven percent of the coinfected cohort had significant fibrosis, with a liver stiffness of greater than 7.1 kPa, compared with 36 percent of those with just hep C and 8.9 percent of those with neither virus.

To read the Healio story, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.