Purpose of review: Liver disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected persons. The long-term beneficial versus potentially harmful influence of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on the liver is debated. We review current data on factors contributing to liver disease in HIV-monoinfected as well as in HIV/viral hepatitis-coinfected patients, highlighting the role of ART, HIV itself, immunodeficiency, patient characteristics, and lifestyle risk factors.
Recent findings: New ART-related clinical syndromes, including noncirrhotic portal hypertension and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, have emerged, and observational data suggest long-term ART-associated liver injury. Recently, there is increasing evidence that HIV itself and immunosuppression are contributing to liver injury in both HIV-coinfected and HIV-monoinfected patients. In HIV-positive persons, ART attenuates progression of chronic viral hepatitis.
Summary: Current expert guidelines recommend earlier treatment of HIV infection in persons coinfected with hepatitis B virus and possibly hepatitis C virus. It is unknown whether an earlier start of ART is beneficial for the liver in HIV-monoinfected patients. Future research should focus on long-term ART-related hepatotoxicity.