How is the natural history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection altered in patients with AIDS?
HCV is common in HIV-infected patients given the similar routes of exposure. In the normal host, progression from infection to cirrhosis takes several decades. A number of studies now suggest that the progression rate is markedly accelerated in patients with AIDS. Indeed currently HCV infection–related cirrhosis is one of the most common causes of death in these patients. This alteration in natural history suggests that early diagnosis of HCV infection and treatment are important.