Liver transplants in HIV/HCV co-infection: study underlines importance of hepatitis C treatment

People with HIV and hepatitis C co-infection were significantly more likely to experience organ rejection than people with hepatitis C alone or HIV alone after undergoing a liver transplant, according to a review of 11 years' experience of liver transplantation in people with HIV and with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the United States, published in advance online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The study investigators say that their findings underline the importance of treating hepatitis C either before or immediately after liver transplantation in order to improve outcomes, rather than assuming that people with co-infection will have poorer outcomes based on historical data.

Liver transplantation remains a relatively rare procedure among people living with HIV, due in part to concerns about poorer survival and higher rates of organ rejection in people with HIV. Although a study carried out by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed a somewhat lower rate of survival three years after transplantation and a higher rate of organ rejection in people with HIV and hepatitis C co-infection compared to people with hepatitis C alone (mono-infection), the majority of transplants in each group was successful. The success of transplantation in people with HIV who are not do not have hepatitis C co-infection has been unclear. Furthermore, data are lacking outside the clinical trial setting regarding the outcomes of transplants in people with co-infection, particularly at transplant centres which did not take part in the NIH trial.


Sawinski D et al. Beyond the NIH Multicenter HIV Transplant Trial experience: outcomes of HIV+ liver transplant recipients compared to HCV+ or HIV+/HCV+ co-infected recipients in the United States. Clin Infect Dis, advance online publication, 16 June 2015.

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