Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the main cause of advanced and end-stage liver disease world-wide, and an important factor of morbidity and mortality in Human Immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) co-infected individuals. Whereas the genetic variability of HCV has been studied extensively in monoinfected patients, comprehensive analyses of both patient and virus characteristics are still scarce in HCV/HIV co-infection. In order to find correlates for liver damage, we sought to analyze demographic, epidemiological and clinical features of HCV/HIV co-infected patients along with the genetic makeup of HCV (viral subtypes and lineage studied by nucleotide sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of the NS5B region). We used the Generalized Linear Model (GLM) methodology in order to integrate data from the virus and the infected host to find predictors for liver damage. The degree of liver disease was evaluated indirectly by means of two indexes (APRI and FIB-4) and accounting for the time since infection, to estimate fibrosis progression rates. Our analyses identified a reduced number of variables (both from the virus and the host) implicated in liver damage, which included the stage of HIV infection, levels of gamma-glutamil transferase and cholesterol, and some distinct HCV phylogenetic clades. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
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