The impact of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) protease inhibitors on hepatitis C (HCV) viremia was assessed in 19 patients infected with both HIV and HCV. HIV and HCV RNA levels were measured before and during treatment with protease inhibitors. before treatment, mean levels of HCV RNA were 5.3 log for HCV RNA and 5.0 log for HIV RNA. CD4 lymphocyte counts were 63/mm3. after 6 weeks of treatment, a mean reduction of 2.1 log10 in HIV RNA (P < .001) and a mean (±SE) increase of 73 (±21) CD4 and 296 (±70) CD8 cells were observed (P < .05). In contrast, both HCV viremia (+0.4 log ± 0.1) and alanine aminotransferase increased (P < .04). HCV RNA levels returned to baseline after 17 and 32 weeks of treatment. Thus, potent anti-HIV regimens with protease inhibitors may temporarily worsen HCV status despite improvement of HIV parameters.

Author notes

Presented in part: 37th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Toronto, Canada, September 1997 (abstract I-165).