Hepatitis C emerging as a leading cause of death in AIDS patients
Hepatitis C is emerging as a leading cause of death in Europeans and Americans who are infected with HIV, Newsday reports. An estimated 200 million people worldwide are infected with the hepatitis C virus, including more than 4 million Americans. A survey of 55,000 HIV patients in the United States in clinical trials found that 16.1% of them are coinfected with the hepatitis C virus. Between 80% and 100% of HIV-positive hemophiliacs are infected with hepatitis C as a result of contaminated blood transfusions. About 70% of HIV-positive intravenous drug users are also infected with hepatitis C. Most HIV patients now hospitalized for AIDS-related problems are experiencing symptoms of hepatitis C or liver disease, according to data presented at the 8th Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. In Chicago, physicians from Cook County Hospital said that 35% of all deaths last year of HIV-positive patients in the city were due to liver failure. Similar trends are also reported in Europe, according to studies conducted in Spain and Germany.