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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 188–192 | Cite as

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in a Northern Alberta Population

  • Samantha L. Bowker
  • Colin L. Soskolne
  • Stan C. Houston
  • Stephen C. Newman
  • Gian S. Jhangri
Article

Abstract

Objective

To describe the demographics and estimate the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in a cohort of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) positive patients in Northern Alberta.

Methods

A cross-sectional (prevalence) study was performed on a cohort of HIV-positive patients. HCV testing was not widely available until December 1989, and the more sensitive, second generation immunoassay was not available until 1992. To reduce the effect of testing bias, we restricted consideration of HCV status to patients first seen January 1, 1992 onward.

Results

Forty-four percent of patients in the whole cohort were tested for HCV (564/1,276) and 62% (505/809) of patients entered since January 1, 1992 were tested for HCV. During the period January 1, 1992-December 31, 1999, the prevalence of HCV in our cohort of northern Alberta HIV-positive patients was at least 37.9% (307/809) and was 60.8% (307/505) among those who were tested for HCV in 1992 or later. The mean age of the coinfected group was 33.6 years, 66.1% were male, 91.2% were injection drug users (IDUs), 56.8% were Caucasian, and 40.0% were Aboriginal. A statistically significant difference was found between the HCV-negative cohort, the HCV co-infected cohort, and the HCVuntested cohort for the following variables: risk behaviour, gender, ethnic status, death, occurrence of an AIDS-defining illness (p<0.0001), and mean baseline CD4 cell count (p=0.002).

Conclusion

A high proportion of the HIV-infected IDUs was co-infected with HCV. Compared to the HCV-negative group, the co-infected group appears to have had less advanced HIV disease. This is likely a reflection of more recent HIV infection in the HCV co-infected group.

Résumé

Objectif

Décrire l’évolution démographique et estimer la prévalence du virus de l’hépatite C (VHC) au sein d’une cohorte de patients du nord de l’Alberta séropositifs pour le virus de l’immunodéficience humaine (VIH).

Méthode

Étude transversale (de prévalence) menée auprès d’une cohorte de patients séropositifs pour le VIH. Puisque le test de dépistage du VHC n’était pas généralement disponible avant décembre 1989, et que l’immuno-essai de deuxième génération, plus sensible, ne l’a été qu’en 1992, nous avons uniquement tenu compte de l’état sérologique VHC des patients vus à partir du 1er janvier 1992, afin de réduire le biais associé aux tests. Résultats: Quarante-quatre p. cent des patients de toute la cohorte avaient subi un test de dépistage du VHC (564/1 276), et 62 % (505/809) des patients vus depuis le 1er janvier 1992. Entre le 1er janvier 1992 et le 31 décembre 1999, la prévalence du VHC au sein de la cohorte était d’au moins 37,9 % (307/809), et de 60,8 % (307/505) chez les patients ayant subi un test de dépistage du VHC à partir de 1992. Le groupe co-infecté par le VIH et le VHC avait un âge moyen de 33,6 ans; il était composé à 66,1 % d’hommes, à 91,2 % d’utilisateurs de drogues injectables (UDI), à 56,8 % de Blancs et à 40 % d’Autochtones. Nous avons constaté des différences significatives (entre la cohorte des patients séronégatifs pour le VHC, celle des patients co-infectés et celle qui n’avait pas subi de test de dépistage du VHC) à l’égard des variables suivantes: la propension à prendre des risques, le sexe, l’origine ethnique, le décès, la fréquence d’une maladie définissant le sida (p<0,0001) et la concentration moyenne initiale de lymphocytes CD4 (p=0,002).

Conclusion

Une forte proportion d’UDI infectés par le VIH étaient co-infectés par le VHC. Comparé au groupe séronégatif pour le VHC, le groupe co-infecté semblait être à un stade moins avancé du VIH. Cela traduisait sans doute des infections à VIH plus récentes dans le groupe coinfecté.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samantha L. Bowker
    • 1
  • Colin L. Soskolne
    • 1
  • Stan C. Houston
    • 2
  • Stephen C. Newman
    • 1
  • Gian S. Jhangri
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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