A recent conference heard that Spain is making dramatic progress towards eliminating hepatitis C in people living with HIV because of widespread use of direct-acting antivirals – the proportion of people living with HIV who have chronic hepatitis C has fallen dramatically from 22% in 2015 to 12% in 2016. Treatment cures people of infection and stops the virus from being passed on.
And curing hepatitis C also results in significant improvements in people’s quality of life, a study of over 3000 people shows. Every six months, participants completed questionnaires to assess their health-related quality of life, answering questions about energy levels, pain, emotional wellbeing, mental health and whether their health had impacted their ability to do things. All participants had been cured of hepatitis C during clinical trials of treatment that included the drug sofosbuvir.
After starting treatment participants saw significant improvements in all aspects of health-related quality of life, especially scores for ‘vitality’ and ‘general health’. The greatest improvements were seen in people who had co-morbidities (such as depression or type 2 diabetes), sleep problems, tiredness or liver cirrhosis before starting treatment.
Scores began rising at the end of treatment and continued to increase after achieving a sustained virological response (cure) until they were around the normal levels for people in the general population. The improvements were maintained through three years of follow-up.
For more information, read NAM’s booklet ‘HIV and hepatitis’.