May 7, 2002 WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28 – Patients with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who underwent liver transplantation for hepatitis C virus (HCV) did not have further progression of their HIV after transplantation despite their taking immune-suppressing anti-rejection drugs, according to a University of Pittsburgh study presented today at the American Transplant Congress at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. However, as with many hepatitis C patients receiving liver transplants, HCV recurred in three of the six HIV patients who survived their transplants.
Michael E. de Vera, M.D., a clinical transplant fellow at the University of Pittsburgh’s Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, reported that in the six surviving patients, all of whom have continued highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) along with immunosuppression regimens, HIV viral loads have remained undetectable since their transplants, one for more than four years. Of the three who developed HCV recurrence, one patient has not required treatment, one has responded well to treatment consisting of interferon and ribavirin; the third patient has developed cirrhosis of the liver but has normal bilirubin and a functioning graft.
“HIV progression can be controlled after transplantation with HAART, and HCV recurrence appears to follow a similar course as seen in patients without HIV co-infection, with similar responses to antiviral therapy,” Dr. de Vera stated.
Eight patients with HIV and HCV co-infection have been transplanted at the University of Pittsburgh since 1997. Two died for reasons unrelated to complications of either their HIV or HCV.
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