Injection Drug Use and Hepatitis C as Risk Factors for Mortality in HIV-Infected Individuals: The Antiretroviral Therapy Cohort Collaboration

Margaret T May, Amy C Justice, Kate Birnie, Suzanne M Ingle, Colette Smit, Colette Smith, Didier Neau, Marguerite Guiguet, Carolynne Schwarze-Zander, Santiago Moreno, Jodie L Guest, Antonella dʼArminio Monforte, Cristina Tural, Michael J Gill, Andrea Bregenzer, Ole Kirk, Michael Saag, Timothy R Sterling, Heidi M Crane, Jonathan A C Sterne

    40 Citations (Scopus)


    BACKGROUND: HIV-infected individuals with a history of transmission through injection drug use (IDU) have poorer survival than other risk groups. The extent to which higher rates of hepatitis C (HCV) infection in IDU explain survival differences is unclear.

    METHODS: Adults who started antiretroviral therapy between 2000 and 2009 in 16 European and North American cohorts with >70% complete data on HCV status were followed for 3 years. We estimated unadjusted and adjusted (for age, sex, baseline CD4 count and HIV-1 RNA, AIDS diagnosis before antiretroviral therapy, and stratified by cohort) mortality hazard ratios for IDU (versus non-IDU) and for HCV-infected (versus HCV uninfected).

    RESULTS: Of 32,703 patients, 3374 (10%) were IDU; 4630 (14%) were HCV+; 1116 (3.4%) died. Mortality was higher in IDU compared with non-IDU [adjusted HR 2.71; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.32 to 3.16] and in HCV+ compared with HCV- (adjusted HR 2.65; 95% CI: 2.31 to 3.04). The effect of IDU was substantially attenuated (adjusted HR 1.57; 95% CI: 1.27 to 1.94) after adjustment for HCV, while attenuation of the effect of HCV was less substantial (adjusted HR 2.04; 95% CI: 1.68 to 2.47) after adjustment for IDU. Both IDU and HCV were strongly associated with liver-related mortality (adjusted HR 10.89; 95% CI: 6.47 to 18.3 for IDU and adjusted HR 14.0; 95% CI: 8.05 to 24.5 for HCV) with greater attenuation of the effect of IDU (adjusted HR 2.43; 95% CI: 1.24 to 4.78) than for HCV (adjusted HR 7.97; 95% CI: 3.83 to 16.6). Rates of CNS, respiratory and violent deaths remained elevated in IDU after adjustment for HCV.

    CONCLUSIONS: A substantial proportion of the excess mortality in HIV-infected IDU is explained by HCV coinfection. These findings underscore the potential impact on mortality of new treatments for HCV in HIV-infected people.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999)
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)348-54
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


    • Adolescent
    • Adult
    • Anti-HIV Agents
    • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
    • Cohort Studies
    • Female
    • HIV Infections
    • Hepatitis C
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • Risk Factors
    • Substance Abuse, Intravenous
    • Survival Analysis
    • Treatment Outcome
    • Viral Load
    • Young Adult


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