Beginning antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for HIV is associated with liver health improvement among those with and without hepatitis B or C viruses (HBV/HCV), aidsmap reports. Publishing their findings in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS), researchers studied 494 men in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), including 24 coinfected with HCV, 27 coinfected with HBV, and 2 coinfected with HBV and HCV.
The participants underwent liver function screening through aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index (APRI) a respective four years and one year before starting ARVs, as well as a respective two years and five years after starting HIV treatment.
Seventy-nine percent of the participants started HIV treatment before 2001.
Among HIV monoinfected and HIV/viral hepatitis-coinfected participants, average APRI scores increased, respectively, from 0.49 to 0.55 and from 1.26 to 1.62 before HIV treatment. (An increase in the score indicates worsening liver function.) During the first two years after starting ARVs, the APRI scores declined, from 0.55 to 0.53 among the monoinfected participants, and from 1.62 to 1.31 among the coinfected participants.
After adjusting the data regarding the monoinfected men for various factors, the researchers found that APRI increased by an average of 17 percent during the pre-ARV period. During the first two years after ARV initiation, APRI dropped by 16 percent among those with a fully suppressed viral load, decreased by 2 percent among those with a viral load between 500 and 75,000, and increased by 47 percent among those with a viral load above 75,000. Overall, APRI subsequently increased through to five years after starting ARVs, but did not return to the levels seen before HIV treatment initiation.
Adjusted data about the coinfected men showed that APRI increased by an average of 34 percent during the period before HIV treatment. Two years after ARV initiation, those with a fully suppressed viral load saw a 22 percent decrease in APRI, and those with a viral load between 500 and 75,000 experienced a 13 percent decrease. The set of people with a very high viral load was too small to properly analyze. APRI continued to decline, by an average of 8 percent, out to five years post HIV treatment initiation.
To read the aidsmap article, click here.
To read the study abstract, click here.