Co-infection of HIV patients with the silent killer, hepatitis C

Hepatitis C (HCV), a liver condition amenable to appropriate treatment depending on disease status, is caused by different blood-borne HCV genotypes. Approximately 130–150 million people across the globe have chronic HCV infections.  In addition, millions of baby boomers— people born between 1945 and 1965 — may be unaware that they are infected with HCV. Antiviral treatment is successful in 50–90% of diagnosed cases, depending on the treatment used, but access to these resources are limited, according to the World Health Organization.

Co-infection of HIV patients with HCV (~4—5 million people worldwide), causes substantial morbidity and is associated with higher rates of all-cause, liver-related and AIDS-related deaths (1). The onset of treatments tailored to HCV and other known opportunistic infections in HIV patients has been outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (2). For patients with an acute HCV co-infection and no spontaneous clearance, treatment should be offered using a genotype-specific regimen as for chronic HCV infection for 24 to 48 weeks. Factors favoring initiation or deferral should be taken into account before initiating HCV-genotype-specific regimens in chronically infected patients according to dosage guidelines based on concomitant anti-retroviral regimens. The national organizations also describe further considerations that should guide HCV therapy in a HIV-infected patient e.g., “HCV treatment is generally not recommended in patients with a CD4+ cell count <200 cells/μL (2).”

A complete summary of guidelines for the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections in HIV patients can be found here.

References

1.            von Schoen-Angerer T, Cohn J, Swan T, Piot P. UNITAID can address HCV/HIV co-infection. The Lancet. 2013;381(9867):628.

2.            National Guideline Clearinghouse. Guidelines for the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections in HIV-infected adults and adolescents. Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=45359&search=hiv+and+opportunistic+infections. Accessed 4/23/2014.

Diabetes and infectious illness series on Amazon

Hi everyone,

Happy Friday and thanks to everyone who checked out my author pages on Amazon and Facebook. This is just a quick announcement that my two-part series is available in paperback and Kindle formats on Amazon. The first book, Perspectives on Type 2 diabetes, is available for immediate purchase and the second book, HIV/TB/Diabetes resource kit, should be available within 48 hours. Please discuss any information you wish to follow up on with a doctor.

I hope to return to blogging soon (Amazon author page).

Reach a Hand

Reach a Hand ─a non-profit, HIV-prevention-and-empowerment group targeted specifically towards youths and started by Humphrey Nabimanya ─embodies a can-do spirit in terms of providing practical education to a vulnerable group that might not have access/knowledge to cope with the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa. Humphrey lost close family members, including a sister and her partner, to the disease.

Together with his team, they have recently launched a music project, involving some of Uganda’s leading music celebrities, to drive home the point that empowerment through peer-to-peer education is one of the powerful tools that sexually active young people have against HIV. One of their songs ,“If Its Not On Its Not Safe”, features East Africa’s top artists in the music industry, GNL Zamba, Ray Signature, Lydia Jasmine, Big Trill (singers are from Uganda), and Jody Phibi (Rwanda).

People wishing to engage in similar programs can apply for funding at http://goo.gl/gRSL1P.

Co-infection of HIV patients with the silent killer, hepatitis C (first appeared in The Norwalk Patch)

Hepatitis C (HCV), a liver condition amenable to appropriate treatment depending on disease status, is caused by different blood-borne HCV genotypes. Approximately 130–150 million people across the globe have chronic HCV infections.  In addition, millions of baby boomers— people born between 1945 and 1965 — may be unaware that they are infected with HCV. Antiviral treatment is successful in 50–90% of diagnosed cases, depending on the treatment used, but access to these resources are limited, according to the World Health Organization.

Co-infection of HIV patients with HCV (~4—5 million people worldwide), causes substantial morbidity and is associated with higher rates of all-cause, liver-related and AIDS-related deaths (1). The onset of treatments tailored to HCV and other known opportunistic infections in HIV patients has been outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (2). For patients with an acute HCV co-infection and no spontaneous clearance, treatment should be offered using a genotype-specific regimen as for chronic HCV infection for 24 to 48 weeks. Factors favoring initiation or deferral should be taken into account before initiating HCV-genotype-specific regimens in chronically infected patients according to dosage guidelines based on concomitant anti-retroviral regimens. The national organizations also describe further considerations that should guide HCV therapy in a HIV-infected patient e.g., “HCV treatment is generally not recommended in patients with a CD4+ cell count <200 cells/μL (2).”

A complete summary of guidelines for the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections in HIV patients can be found here.

References

1.   von Schoen-Angerer T, Cohn J, Swan T, Piot P. UNITAID can address HCV/HIV co-infection. The Lancet. 2013;381(9867):628.

2.   National Guideline Clearinghouse. Guidelines for the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections in HIV-infected adults and adolescents. Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=45359&search=hiv+and+opportunistic+infections. Accessed 4/23/2014.

ZEN Science Scan newsletter (Feb/March 2015)

Hi everyone,

My newsletter on SlideShare is a supplement (ZEN Science Scan Newsletter, Feb/Mar 2015) to highlight some of the exciting research and challenges in the fields of communicable and non-communicable diseases (with an emphasis on HIV/TB/diabetes as described in “The Heroine Next Door”).

The Heroine Next Door (and more about me)

Hi everyone!

I am so excited that my first book is finally in print.
My earliest memories of growing up involve sitting next to my father, as he drove a green truck filled with chattering children, to a Muslim primary school located in the whites-only neighborhood of Paarl. This prosperous South African tourist attraction and home of the Afrikaans Language monument can trace its roots of its name (Afrikaans for “pearl’) back to the description given by a Dutch colonist, Abraham Gabemma, when he saw a granite rock on one of its mountains gleaming after a rain storm. Three years later, in 1660, different Dutch settlers would give a street the same name after the oysters found in a New York river. Little did I know, as I watched my father teach overflowing classes of children the three R’s (reading, writing, and arithmetic) and I learned about nature from my mother (an avid gardener), that I would one day find myself in New York City.
Had I been the meticulous diarist of my later years, the stories of analyzing geraniums for signs of viral infections and probing the plump, yellow flesh of loquats in a tree (while hiding from my mother for some long-forgotten transgression), would be chronicled in glowing detail and cross-referenced with comments from my brothers. Instead, in my incarnation as a writer and given the vagaries of lost memories, I chose to write a work of fiction that is inspired by people and events that I have had the privilege to witness over the years. Because I am South African by birth, “The Heroine Next Door,” has a strong regional flavor, focusing on the pre-and post-apartheid era, before transitioning to the USA and Europe, and the impact of path-breaking infectious and non-communicable disease research on the lives of people in Africa. However, the core identity and relationship issues that the main character, Leila, struggles with are ones that resonate with me and hopefully with the readers. With that in mind, I plan on continuing to write about relationships, sometimes in the idiom of the religion in which I was raised, Islam, and to creatively meditate about my other great loves, including history, news (I am a news junkie), education for all, and science.