Effect of Hepatitis G Virus Infection on Progression of HIV Infection in Patients with Hemophilia. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:959. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-132-12-200006200-00046
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2000;132(12):959.
People with hemophilia lack substances (clotting factors) that permit blood to clot normally. They frequently need treatment with clotting factors that come from donated blood. Unfortunately, in the days before blood banks were able to routinely test donated blood for viruses, persons with hemophilia often got infections from the clotting factors. These infections included such viruses as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, the virus that causes AIDS) and hepatitis viruses (a group of viruses that can cause liver problems). Hepatitis G is a virus that is commonly found in blood, but unlike hepatitis B and hepatitis C, it does not seem to cause any chronic liver problems. In fact, preliminary reports suggest that people who are infected with both HIV and hepatitis G may progress to AIDS more slowly than people who have only HIV infection.
The researchers wanted to find out whether persons with hemophilia and HIV infection develop AIDS more slowly if they also have hepatitis G infection than if they have only HIV infection.
The study included 131 persons with hemophilia who were found to be HIV-positive between 1978 and 1985. Study patients came from hemophilia treatment centers in the United States and in Europe.
All study patients had tests for hepatitis G infection. They also underwent a variety of tests that help to judge the severity of HIV infection. The researchers then followed the patients for an average of 12 years to see who developed AIDS.
Of the 131 patients, 60 tested positive for hepatitis G infection. About 30% of patients with both HIV and hepatitis G infection developed AIDS compared with about 60% of those patients that had only HIV infection. After accounting for measures of HIV severity at the start of the study, persons with hepatitis G infection were still 40% less likely to develop AIDS than those without hepatitis G infection.
Although this study suggests that hepatitis G infection may slow the development of AIDS in hemophiliac persons with HIV infection, it does not tell us why this occurs. It also does not tell us whether hepatitis G might have a similar influence in persons who have HIV but not hemophilia.
Hemophiliac patients with HIV infection progress to AIDS more slowly if they also have hepatitis G infection than if they do not.
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