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 infection.
Dr Howard Libman and colleagues hypothesized that Hepatitis C infection is associated with more depressive symptoms in HIV-infected persons with a history of alcohol problems.
The team of doctors 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 these, 59% were Hepatitis C antibody positive and 49% were Hepatitis C RNA-positive.
The team assessed depressive symptoms, and past month alcohol consumption.
In the primary analysis, the doctors evaluated whether there were more depressive symptoms in Hepatitis C antibody-positive and RNA-positive subjects in unadjusted analyses.
|Hep C may have a direct effect on neuropsychiatric function|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
The team also adjusted for alcohol consumption, gender, age, race, CD4 count, homelessness, drug dependence, and medical comorbidity.
Mean Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scores were higher in subjects who were Hepatitis C antibody-positive vs those who were antibody-negative.
In adjusted analyses, the team noted that the difference in depression scores between Hepatitis C antibody-positive and antibody-negative subjects persisted.
Unadjusted mean Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scores were also higher in Hepatitis C RNA-positive subjects compared with those who were RNA-negative.
The doctors observed that the difference remained significant in adjusted analyses.
Dr Libman's team concludes, “Hepatitis C/HIVcoinfected persons with a history of alcohol problems have more depressive symptoms than those without Hepatitis C, and this association is unexplained by a variety of population characteristics.”
“These data suggest that Hepatitis C may have a direct effect on neuropsychiatric function.”