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Studies advance knowledge of HIV impact on hepatitis C infection and genes that may thwart HCV
Date:3/4/2013

in people aging with HIV may simply reflect their greater exposure to alcohol, tobacco or illicit drugs," adds Kirk, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Importantly, this investigation showed an increased severity of liver disease among people with HIV compared to people without HIV but whose pattern of smoking, alcohol drinking and illicit drug use was very similar."

"Co-infected patients may have to be monitored more closely for worsening liver disease, and may require earlier and more aggressive treatment than people without HIV infection," adds study co-investigator and epidemiologist Shruti Mehta, Ph.D., M.P.H. Although the reason for the accelerated rate of liver disease with HIV is unclear, the study results suggest that HIV and aging may share common mechanisms of immune activation that speed up HCV disease progression, says Mehta, an associate professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Mehta and Kirk are both co-principal investigators of the long-term monitoring of the Baltimore group, known as the ALIVE cohort, which is short for the AIDS Linked to the IntraVenous Experience study.

The second study is believed to be the largest genetic investigation ever conducted of people infected with HCV. In it, researchers at 13 medical centers in five countries, including Thomas' Johns Hopkins team, analyzed nearly 800,000 differences in the genetic code among 919 people whose immune systems showed antibody evidence of having successfully fought off HCV infection, and another 1,482 people who became infected with the disease.

Lead study investigator and genetic epidemiologist Priya Duggal, Ph.D., M.P.H., says 40 percent of people exposed to HCV, predominantly of white and Asian ancestry, "spontaneously fight off infection" without any need for drug therapy, suggesting a genetic basis to risk of infection.

The international team's analysis showed that 15 percent of study partic
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Contact: David March
dmarch1@jhmi.edu
410-955-1534
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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