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HIV and viral hepatitis C coinfection in people who inject drugs: implications of new direct acting antivirals for hepatitis C virus treatment

Walsh, Nicka; Maher, Lisab

Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS: July 2012 - Volume 7 - Issue 4 - p 339–344
doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e328354131e
INJECTING DRUG USE AND HIV: Edited by Lisa Maher and Nick Walsh

Purpose of review The recent major shift toward oral direct acting hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatments has the potential to revolutionize the global response to HCV. People who inject drugs (PWID) are a large key affected population who stand to benefit from these new medications.

Recent findings There is a large number of new drug classes and targets with activity against HCV. Although effective for HCV treatment in monoinfection and coinfection with HIV, most direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) remain within the research pipeline, with only two having achieved regulatory approval to date. Clinical trial data are not available regarding HCV treatment for PWID with DAAs. This article reviews clinical data on HCV treatment for a number of promising compounds in HCV monoinfection and coinfection with HIV and discusses the barriers facing PWID in scale-up and roll-out of DAAs in the coming years.

Summary DAAs have the potential to revolutionize HCV treatment. There will be significant access barriers for people who inject drugs to these new medications.

aDepartment of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria

bViral Hepatitis Epidemiology and Prevention Program, Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Correspondence to Professor Lisa Maher, Program Head and NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, Viral Hepatitis Epidemiology and Prevention Program, Kirby Institute (formerly the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research), University of New South Wales, Centre for Immunology, Corner West and Boundary Streets, Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.