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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 297-301  

Prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis c virus co-infection among human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients and effect of hepatitis c virus infection on acquired immunodeficiency syndrome cases at baseline


1 Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria
2 Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Basic Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria

Date of Submission30-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance27-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication3-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Abdulmumini Yakubu
Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/aam.aam_65_20

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   Abstract 


Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) exists as both viruses have the common routes of transmission. HIV infection has adverse effect on the natural history of HCV infection; however, the effect of HCV infection on the natural history of HIV infection is unclear. Materials and Methods: This study was cross-sectional comprising of treatment-naïve adult HIV-infected patients attending clinics at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto and Specialist Hospital Sokoto. The study participants were screened for HCV anti]body and assayed for transaminases and CD4+ T-lymphocytes count levels. The symptoms of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-defining illnesses were asked among the study participants. The questionnaire was used for the collection of data, and SPSS software version 20 was used for the analysis of data. Student's t-tests, Pearson's, Chi-square, and Fisher's exact tests were used for the statistical analysis, and P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: The prevalence of HIV/HCV co-infection was 20.6%. Self-intravenous drugs usage was not statistically significant (P = 0.210). HIV mono-infected patients had significantly lower alanine aminotransferase levels compared to HIV/HCV co-infected study participants (P = 0.048). AIDS status at the baseline was comparable between HIV mono-infected and HIV/HCV co-infected study participants. (P = 0.227; 0.200; 0.130). Conclusion: Moderately high prevalence of HIV/HCV co-infection was observed in the current study. HCV co-infection had no effect on AIDS status at baseline. There is a need for routine screening of HCV infection in HIV-infected individuals.

   Abstract in French 

Résumé
Contexte: La co-infection par le virus de l'hépatite C et le VIH existe car les deux virus ont des voies de transmission communes. L'infection par le VIH a des effets néfastes sur l'histoire naturelle de l'infection par le VHC; cependant, l'effet de l'infection par le VHC sur l'histoire naturelle de l'infection par le VIH n'est pas clair. Méthodes: Cette étude était transversale et comprenait des patients adultes infectés par le VIH, naïfs de traitement, fréquentant les cliniques de l'hôpital universitaire de Usmanu Danfodiyo, Sokoto (UDUTH, SOKOTO) et l'hôpital spécialisé de Sokoto (SHS). Les participants à l'étude ont été dépistés pour les anticorps anti-VHC et testés pour les transaminases et les taux de comptage des lymphocytes T CD4+. Les symptômes des maladies définissant le SIDA ont été demandés parmi les participants à l'étude. Le questionnaire a été utilisé pour la collecte de données et SPSS version 20 a été utilisé pour l'analyse des données. Les tests t de Student, le chi carré de Pearson, le test exact de Fisher ont été utilisés pour les tests statistiques et une valeur P < 0,05 a été considérée comme statistiquement significative. Résultats: La prévalence de la co-infection VIH/VHC était de 20,6%. La consommation de médicaments auto-intraveineux était numériquement plus élevée chez les participants à l'étude avec une co-infection par le VHC, mais pas statistiquement significative (P = 0,210). Le VIH mono-infecté présentait des taux d'ALAT significativement plus faibles que les participants à l'étude co-infectés par le VIH/VHC (P = 0,048). Le statut SIDA au départ était comparable entre les participants à l'étude mono-infectés par le VIH et co-infectés par le VIH/VHC (P = 0,227; 0,200; 0,130). Conclusion: Une prévalence modérément élevée de co-infection VIH/VHC a été observée dans la présente étude. La co-infection par le VHC n'a eu aucun effet sur l'état du SIDA au départ. Un dépistage systématique de l'infection par le VHC est nécessaire chez les personnes infectées par le VIH.
Mots-clés: VIH, VHC, co-infection, transaminases, SIDA

Keywords: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, co-infection, hepatitis C virus, human immunodeficiency virus, transaminases


How to cite this article:
Yakubu A, Hali B, Maiyaki AS. Prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis c virus co-infection among human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients and effect of hepatitis c virus infection on acquired immunodeficiency syndrome cases at baseline. Ann Afr Med 2021;20:297-301

How to cite this URL:
Yakubu A, Hali B, Maiyaki AS. Prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis c virus co-infection among human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients and effect of hepatitis c virus infection on acquired immunodeficiency syndrome cases at baseline. Ann Afr Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 24];20:297-301. Available from: https://www.annalsafrmed.org/text.asp?2021/20/4/297/331667




   Introduction Top


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has seven genotypes, greater proportion of those infected with HCV develop chronic course of the infection.[1],[2] About 180 million are infected with HCV worldwide, substantial percentage of patients with chronic HCV infection progress to liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver failure.[3],[4],[5]

Among those at risk of contracting HCV infection are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients, intravenous drug users, sex workers, children born to HCV-infected mothers, recipients of blood/blood products transfusions (especially before the advent of HCV screening of blood donors), and those with a history of tattooing, among others.[3]

Hepatitis C virus co-infection in HIV-infected patients causes more liver-related morbidity and mortality than in HCV mono-infected patients.[6] However, HCV infection has little or no effect on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) response or clinical progression of HIV infection.[7] Additionally, Seminari et al. in their study reported that HCV co-infection did not impair late immunological recovery; however, it impaired early immunological recovery after ART initiation.[8]

Identification of HIV/HCV co-infected patients is needed for proper management, as HCV infection is treatable.[3] This study intended to find the prevalence and risk factors for HCV infection among HIV-infected individuals as well as the effect of HCV infection on acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases at baseline.


   Materials and Methods Top


The present study was cross-sectional, conducted from March 2014 to October 2015 at Specialist Hospital Sokoto (SHS) and Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH), Sokoto. The study participants were 180 adult HIV-infected patients.

Patients who were yet to commence anti-retroviral drugs were included in the study. Participants who were below 18 years of age were excluded from the study. The study was approved by the ethical committees of SHS and UDUTH, Sokoto, and informed consent was obtained from the study participants. Questionnaire was used for the collection of respondent's information and interviewer administered technique was adopted.

The study participants were screened for HCV infection using anti-HCV enzyme linked immunosorbent assay kit (Perfemed, South San Francisco United States). Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were assessed using Agappe Kit (Agappe Diagnostics Switzerland Gmbh) with the normal range up to 46 IU/L and 49 IU/L, respectively. While CD4+ T-lymphocytes count was determined by Cyflow counter Machine (PARTEC, Germany). The study participants were questioned about the presence of symptoms suggestive of AIDS-defining illnesses such as persistent fever, loss of >10% body weight, persistent diarrhea, multiple skin lesions, persistent cough, and oral ulcerations. The prevalence of HCV infection was compared with the variables of interest, while AST, ALT, and and CD4+ T-lymphocytes levels were compared among HIV study participants with negative and positive anti-HCV.

The data were analyzed with the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 20. Student's t-test, Pearson's Chi-square, and Fisher's exact test were used for the statistical analysis, and P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.


   Results Top


Sociodemographic characteristics of the study participants

The study participants comprised of 109 (60.6%) females and 71 (39.4%) males. The mean age of the study participants was 32 ± 10 (mean ± standard deviation). Majority of them were married. Only 36 (20.0%) attended tertiary institutions, as shown in [Table 1].
Table 1: Sociodemographic features of the study participants

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Overall prevalence, sex, and age group distribution of human immunodeficiency virus/hepatitis C virus co-infection

The overall prevalence of HIV/HCV co-infection was 37 (20.6%). The prevalence of HIV/HCV co-infection was numerically higher in females 24 (22.0%) compared to males 13 (18.3) (P = 0.547), as shown in [Table 2].
Table 2: Overall prevalence and comparison of human immunodeficiency virus/hepatitis C virus co-infection by sex

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Mean CD4+ T-lymphocytes count, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase levels between the study participants who were positive and negative for hepatitis C virus co-infection

The mean CD4+ T-lymphocytes count levels were comparable between study subjects who were positive and negative for HCV co-infection (312 ± 220; 279 ± 249 cells/mm3, respectively) (P = 0.472). The mean AST level was numerically higher among the study participants who were positive for HCV infection (43 ± 32 IU/L) compared to study participants who were negative for HCV infection (42 ± 38 IU/L); however, the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.891). Mean ALT level was significantly lower in study participants who had HCV co-infection (28 ± 19 IU/L) compared to study participants who had no HCV co-infection (37 ± 36 IU/L) (P = 0.048), as shown in [Table 3].
Table 3: Comparison of mean CD4+ T-lymphocytes count, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine amino transferase levels between study participants who were positive and negative for hepatitis C virus infection

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Association of hepatitis C virus co-infection with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome cases at baseline

The prevalence of AIDS (based on severe immunosuppression [CD4 T-lymphocytes count less than 200 cells/mm3] or the presence of opportunistic infections or both) cases at baseline was comparable between the study participants who were positive and negative for HCV infection (P = 0.876, 0.845, and 0.623, respectively), as shown in [Table 4].
Table 4: Comparison of acquired immuno deficiency syndrome cases in study participants with and without hepatitis C virus co-infection

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Observed frequencies of symptoms of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome defining illnesses

Weight loss was the most frequent symptom of AIDS defining illness that was observed among the study participants who have either HIV/HCV coinfection 19 (51.4%) or HIV mono-infection 68 (47.6%); however, none of the observed symptoms differed significantly between HIV/HCV coinfection and HIV monoinfection [Table 5].
Table 5: Frequencies of observed symptoms of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome defining illnesses

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Observed risk factors for the acquisition of human immunodeficiency virus/hepatitis C virus co-infection and human immunodeficiency virus mono-infection

Self-intravenous drugs usage was numerically higher among study participants with HIV/HCV co-infection compared with study participants with HIV mono-infection, though not statistically significant (P = 0.210). Other acquisition risk factors (blood transfusion, tattooing, and having multiple sexual partners) observed in the study were also comparable between study participants with and without HCV co-infection (P = 0.073; 0.661; 0.682, respectively), as shown in [Table 5].


   Discussion Top


The prevalence of HCV co-infection with HIV infection (20.6%) observed in the current study is higher than the values obtained by Eze et al. in Enugu, (6.8%) among pediatric HIV-infected patients, Balogun et al., (14.7%) among adult HIV-infected patients in Lagos and Forbi et al., (11.1%) in Keffi, Nigeria.[9],[10],[11] However, this finding is lower than what was documented in Poland (71.1%)[12] and in Spain (37.3%).[13] Self intravenous drugs usage which is often the route of HCV infection in Europe was found to be lower in the current study (13.5%) compared to a study in Poland (57.8%) which recorded the higher prevalence of HCV co-infection among HIV-infected patients, and this may explain the disparity.

Gender, blood transfusion, intravenous drugs usage, and tattooing were found not to be associated with HCV co-infection among HIV-infected patients, and this is contrary to a study in Poland in which an association between HCV/HIV co-infection with male gender and intravenous drugs usage was observed.[12] However, Eze et al. and Balogun et al. observed similar results with regard to tattooing and gender, respectively.[9],[10] The risk factors for acquiring HCV infection differ by the region. In developing countries, unscreened blood transfusion (though now rare), unsterilized barber practices, unsafe therapeutic injections due to poor application of universal infection control guidelines, and poorly sterilized surgical equipment are the main risk factors for HCV infection. However, in developed and Western Nations, intravenous drugs usage, sexual route, alcohol abuse, and tattooing are the major risk factors for acquiring HCV infection.[3]

Study participants aged ≤45 years were observed to have significantly higher prevalence of HCV/HIV co-infection. This finding is in contrast to what was observed by Bhattarai et al. in their study in Nepal in which they documented that age >40 years was associated with HCV co-infection in HIV-infected individuals,[14] and Chen et al. who observed that age >50 years was associated with HCV co-infection.[15] Risky behaviors are frequently found in younger ages than in middle or old age in our environment; therefore, this may explain the disparity.

The current study observed that HCV infection has no influence on the elevation of ALT and AST. In a similar study in Ukraine among HIV-infected child-bearing women, elevated ALT and AST levels were observed to be higher in HIV/HCV co-infected than in HIV mono-infected women.[16]

ALT is an important marker associated with liver damage and progression to chronic liver diseases. Reason for the disparity between these results may probably be due to recruitment of treatment-naïve study participants in the current study, whereas previous study under the discussion recruited study participants some of whom were on ART. ART restores immune functions and can have adverse effect on hepatocytes, and liver damage in viral hepatitis is immunologically mediated.

The current study found that HCV co-infection in HIV-infected patients did not have effect on AIDS cases at baseline. This finding is similar with what was reported in a meta-analysis study in which HCV co-infection in HIV-infected individuals was observed not to have effect on developing AIDS-defining events.[17] These results indicate that HCV infection did not influence the natural history of HIV infection.

Our study was limited by the fact that HCV RNA was not done; hence, it may not be clear whether the presence of anti-HCV meant chronic or resolved HCV infection. However, it is well-known that majority of medium- and low-income countries where HIV treatment is given free, HCV RNA assay is seldom carried out during treatment.[15] Better methods (such as aminotransferase/platelet ratio and fibrosis-4 score) of assessing severity of liver injuries were not employed in the current study.


   Conclusion Top


Moderately higher prevalence of HIV/HCV co-infection was observed compared to previous studies in Nigeria. HCV co-infection had no adverse effect on the natural history of HIV infection at baseline. There is need for routine screening of HCV infection in HIV-infected patients.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Mondelli MU. Natural history of HCV infection: What is the public health impact of untreated disease? Future Virol 2017;12:9-12.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Alter MJ. Epidemiology of viral hepatitis. World J Gastroenterol 2007;13:2436-41.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Gastroenterology Organisation Global Guidelines Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of Hepatitis C. Available from: http://www.spg.pt/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/2017-hepatitisC.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 11].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
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Hoofnagle JH. Hepatitis C: The clinical spectrum of disease. Hepatology 1997;26:15S-20S.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
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Esteban JI, López-Talavera JC, Genescà J, Madoz P, Viladomiu L, Muñiz E, et al. High rate of infectivity and liver disease in blood donors with antibodies to hepatitis C virus. Ann Intern Med 1991;115:443-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Huang X, Liang H, Fan X, Zhu L, Shen T. Liver damage in patients with HCV/HIV coinfection is linked to HIV-related oxidative stress. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2016;2016:8142431.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Protocol 6 Management of Hepatitis C and HIV coinfection Clinical Protocol for WHO European Region. Available from: http://www.euro.who.int'hivaids'publications'pre-2009. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 20].  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Seminari E, Tinelli C, Ravasi G, Ripamonti D, Ladisa N, Marino N, et al. Hepatitis C infection on immune recovery in HIV-positive patients on successful HAART: The role of genotype 3. Curr HIV Res 2010;8:186-93.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Eze JC, Ibeziako NS, Ikefuna AN, Nwokoye IC, Uleanya ND, Ilechukwu GC. Prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus coinfection among children in enugu, Nigeria. Afr J Infect Dis 2014;8:5-8.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Balogun TM, Emmanuel S, Ojerinde EF. HIV, hepatitis B and C viruses' coinfection among patients in a Nigerian tertiary hospital. Pan Afr Med J 2012;12:100.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Forbi JC, Gabadi S, Alabi R, Iperepolu HO, Pam CR, Entonu PE, et al. The role of triple infection with hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type-1 on CD4+ lymphocyte levels in the highly HIV infected population of North Central Nigeria. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 2007;102:535-7.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Grzeszczuk A, Wandalowicz AD, Jaroszewicz J, Flisiak R. Prevalence and risk factors of HCV/HIV co-infection and HCV genotype distribution in North-Eastern Poland. Hepat Mon 2015;15:e27740.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Hernando V, Perez-Cachafeiro S, Lewden C, Gonzalez J, Segura F, Oteo JA, et al. All-cause and liver-related mortality in HIV positive subjects compared to the general population: Differences by HCV co-infection. J Hepatol 2012;57:743-51.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Bhattarai M, Baniya JB, Aryal N, Shrestha B, Rauniyar R, Adhikari A, et al. Epidemiological profile and risk factors for acquiring HBV and/or HCV in HIV-infected population groups in Nepal. Biomed Res Int 2018;2018:9241679.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Chen M, Wong WW, Law MG, Kiertiburanakul S, Yunihastuti E, Merati TP, et al. Hepatitis B and C Co-infection in HIV patients from the TREAT Asia HIV observational database: Analysis of risk factors and survival. PLoS One 2016;11:e0150512.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Bailey H, Nizova N, Martsynovska V, Volokha A, Malyuta R, Cortina-Borja M, et al. HCV co-infection and markers of liver injury and fibrosis among HIV-positive childbearing women in Ukraine: Results from a cohort study. BMC Infect Dis 2016;16:755.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Chen TY, Ding EL, Seage GR 3rd, Kim AY. Meta-analysis: Increased mortality associated with HCV in HIV-infected persons is not related to HIV disease progression. Clin Infect Dis 2009;15:49:1605-15.  Back to cited text no. 17
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]



 

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