People on treatment for HIV have a higher risk of death if they are coinfected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), MD Magazine reports. Treating hep C lowers the risk.

Publishing their findings in Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers analyzed data on 3,056 people with HIV participating in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study and the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. A total of 543 of these individuals had hep C upon entering either study.

Fifty-eight percent of the study population was female. The study members were followed for a median 7.5 years.

The researchers analyzed the risk of death from any cause over 10 years. They found that among all people with HIV, 14.69 percent of those with HCV would die during this period, compared with 10.35 percent of those without hep C. This represented a difference of 4.34 percent points and indicated that HCV was associated with a 42 percent increased risk of death during a 10-year period.

Looking just at those with HIV/HCV coinfection, the researchers found that 14.88 percent of all those treated for hep C would die during a 10-year period, compared with 18.68 percent of those who were not treated for HCV. This represented a difference of negative 3.8 percentage points and indicated that treating hep C was associated with a 20 percent reduced risk of death during a 10-year period among those with HIV/HCV coinfection.

To read the study abstract, click here.