Continuing research in the area of HIV and other related conditions continues to shed more light on the relationships of these conditions and how they impact on an individual’s overall health. According to news posted on aidsmap & aids news, the authoritative website which summarizes AIDS and HIV news for the lay audience, patients with HIV/HCV co-infection have a higher risk of developing Cardio disease. Put differently, people with HIV and Hepatitis C virus co-infection have a significantly higher likelihood to develop cardiovascular disease when compared to people of a similar age with only HIV-mono infection.
Hepatitis C happens to be highly contagious liver disease; it is spread when blood from an infected person enters the bloodstream of an uninfected person. This is a rather similar mode of transmission with HIV. This similarity has nothing to do with the risk of co-infection and CVD. Today, however, most of the HCV transmissions occur through the sharing of needles and other equipment to inject drugs.
This should be understood behind the backdrop of the fact that emergence of enhanced anti-retroviral therapy has led to increasing the life expectancy of HIV individuals. But the challenge here is that there is an increased susceptibility to developing CVDs among this category of patients. The Journal of Viral Hepatitis supports these findings. The results of a meta-analysis published in that journal show co-infection increased the risk of a heart attack by 33% and that of a stroke by 24%.
This risk is purported to be higher among people with hepatitis C and HIV co-infection. The reason for this higher risk is thought to be the increased inflammatory response which, when the two conditions are present together, may impact synergistically to increased CVD risk. However, studies conducted to establish whether this is the case have produced conflicting results
Investigations have been carried out to clarify this issue. For instance, in one such investigation in the US, a meta-analysis of studies looking at the risk of CDV in adults with HIV and HCV co-infection was done. In the initial study, risk factors for Cardiovascular Diseases, namely coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure were adjusted to cater for traditional risk factors such as smoking, sex, diabetes, blood pressure and LCD cholesterol smoking, four cohorts studies met all the necessary inclusion criteria. The findings showed a clear link between CVD and HIV infection and further suggest that this risk is increased significantly compared to HIV negative individuals. Individuals this co-infection with HIV / HCV showed a higher risk of getting CVD in comparison to those with only HIV mono-infection. Though this association between co-infection and propensity to get CVD is largely proven, further research still needs to be done to examine the nature of this association and response to conventional risk-reduction therapies.
Research has thus established that patients with this co-infection have a higher risk of cardio disease. So, what does this imply to patients living with either one or both of these conditions? Anyone living with any one of these diseases should do all it takes to prevent the infection with the other disease. A combination of the two leads to further complications including the increased risk of CVD. The good thing about preventing these infections is that very similar strategies are used to keep both HIV and Hepatitis C at bay. Patients and healthy people alike should avoid situations that allow mixing of blood with an infected person.