Hepatitis C Infection Is Associated with Depressive Symptoms in HIV-Infected Adults with Alcohol Problems

Libman, Howard; Saitz, Richard; Nunes, David; Cheng, Debbie M.; Richardson, Jessica M.; Vidaver, John; Alperen, Julie K.; Samet, Jeffrey H.
August 2006
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Aug2006, Vol. 101 Issue 8, p1804
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVES: Depression is common in persons with HIV infection and with alcohol problems, and it has important prognostic implications. Neurocognitive dysfunction has been reported with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We hypothesized that HCV infection is associated with more depressive symptoms in HIV-infected persons with a history of alcohol problems. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a prospective cohort study of 391 HIV-infected subjects with a history of alcohol problems, of whom 59% were HCV antibody (Ab) positive and 49% were HCV RNA-positive. We assessed depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression [CES-D]) and past month alcohol consumption. In the primary analysis, we evaluated whether there were more depressive symptoms in HCV Ab-positive and RNA-positive subjects in unadjusted analyses and adjusting for alcohol consumption, gender, age, race, CD4 count, homelessness, drug dependence, and medical comorbidity. RESULTS: Mean CES-D scores were higher in subjects who were HCV Ab-positive compared with those who were HCV Ab-negative (24.3 vs 19.0; p < 0.001). In adjusted analyses, the difference in CES-D scores between HCV Ab-positive and Ab-negative subjects persisted (24.0 vs 19.0; p < 0.001). Unadjusted mean CES-D scores were also significantly higher in HCV RNA-positive subjects compared with those who were RNA-negative, and the difference remained significant (24.6 vs 19.3; p < 0.001) in adjusted analyses. CONCLUSIONS: HCV/HIV coinfected persons with a history of alcohol problems have more depressive symptoms than those without HCV, and this association is unexplained by a variety of population characteristics. These data suggest that HCV may have a direct effect on neuropsychiatric function.


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