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Researchers disprove long-standing belief about HIV treatment
Date:7/24/2008

even after successful treatment of the HCV infection, some patients may still not get an adequate CD4 recovery under HIV treatment."

For the retrospective study, researchers examined existing medical records of 322 patients from two separate databases one from Madrid, Spain, and the other from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Patients were separated into two groups those co-infected with hepatitis C and HIV and those infected only with HIV. Researchers reviewed CD4 levels at baseline (before beginning HIV suppression) and every year after for up to three years, while the patients continuously received HAART, an HIV treatment consisting of three different types of medicines used by many patients, and formerly referred to as the HIV "cocktail."

Years of clinical experience have shown that, with HAART treatment suppressing the HIV, CD4 levels are typically able to restore themselves, Nunez said.

However, in some patients, it has been observed that the immune restoration is poorer after HAART. Therefore, Nunez said, it has been a common practice for doctors to attribute less than desirable CD4 restoration after HAART in co-infected patients to the hepatitis C virus.

Studies to date have found evidence both in support of and against this belief, Nunez said. But a limitation in previous studies has been that co-infected patients have been identified by the presence of HIV and the hepatitis C antibody. Since many patients with hepatitis C clear the active virus but continue to carry the antibody, there hasn't been a pure sample of patients truly co-infected with both active viruses to analyze. In this study, only patients with HIV and active hepatitis C cell replication, therefore active virus, were classified as "co-infected."

The study found that there is no difference in the CD4 restoration of co-infected patients and mono-infected patients. However, it did show some differences that seem to be associat
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wfubmc.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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