Study finds that people co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C who are vitamin D deficient are significantly less likely to have an early or sustained response to treatment than those with normal vitamin D status.
Past research has shown a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in people co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis C. Vitamin D acts as an antiviral, decreasing production of hepatitis C. In hepatitis infected patients (non-HIV), improved response rates to treatment have been observed in patients with sufficient vitamin D levels.
Austrian researchers investigated whether vitamin D was associated with this same response in co-infected people.
The researchers found that only a fifth of participants had sufficient vitamin D levels, defined as >30 ng/mL.
Rates of early virological response (EVR) to hepatitis C treatment differed with vitamin D levels. Ninety-two percent of participants with sufficient levels achieved EVR, while 68% achieved EVR with insufficient levels (10-30 ng/mL), and 47% participants with vitamin D deficiency (<10 ng/mL).
Achieving a sustained virological response (SRV; undetectable hepatitis C viral load 24 weeks after the completion of therapy) was also related to vitamin D status. SRV was achieved in 85% of participants with sufficient vitamin D levels, 60% with insufficiency, and 40% with deficiency.
The authors conclude:
“Vitamin D supplementation should be considered and evaluated prospectively in HIV/HCV coinfected patients receiving CHC treatment.”