Using direct-acting antiviral therapies demonstrated similarly high rates of sustained virologic response for hepatitis C virus infection in patients with and without HIV infection as compared with rates for HCV mono-infected patients, according to findings published in Hepatology.

“Because of low [sustained virologic response] rates associated with interferon-based therapies, the accelerated progression of HCV related liver disease, and barriers to receiving treatment, the [FDA] identified those infected with HIV and HCV co-infection as being a specific population with unmet medical needs,” Cameron Sikavi, third-year resident from the department of medicine at Harbor-University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center, and colleagues wrote. “With the advent of [DAA] therapies, HCV treatment has resulted in higher cure rates with short treatment duration in comparison to pegylated-interferon and ribavirin based therapies, in addition to improved safety and tolerability profiles.”

Patients with HCV and HIV coinfection treated with interferon-based treatments had substantially lower SVR rates compared with rates seen in HCV mono-infected patients. Mono-infected persons who started taking DAA agents had similar SVR rates as compared with co-infected persons, with SVR greater than 93%. In comparison to interferon-based regimens, DAA medications have been shown to have improved the safety, efficacy and tolerability in both co-infected and mono-infected patients. Sikavi and colleagues also note that physicians should be aware of antiretroviral medications for HIV before starting a patient on HCV treatment, and of comorbidities that may impact SVR.