High prevalence of liver fibrosis associated with HIV infection: a study in rural Rakai, Uganda

2011 Antiviral Therapy 16;3 (405-411)

BACKGROUND: Liver disease is a leading cause of mortality among HIV-infected persons in the United States and Europe. However, data regarding the effects of HIV and antiretroviral therapy (ART) on liver disease in Africa are sparse. METHODS: A total of 500 HIV-infected participants in an HIV care programme in rural Rakai, Uganda were frequency-matched by age, gender and site to 500 HIV-uninfected participants in a population cohort. All participants underwent transient elastography (FibroScan((R))) to quantify liver stiffness measurements (LSM) and identify participants with significant liver fibrosis, defined as LSM>/=9.3 kPa ( approximately Metavir F>/=2). Risk factors for liver fibrosis were identified by estimating adjusted prevalence risk ratios (adjPRR) and 95% CI using modified Poisson multivariate regression. RESULTS: The prevalence of hepatitis B coinfection in the study population was 5%. The prevalence of significant fibrosis was 17% among HIV-infected and 11% in HIV-uninfected participants (P=0.008). HIV infection was associated with a 50% increase in liver fibrosis (adjPRR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1-2.1; P=0.010). Fibrosis was also associated with male gender (adjPRR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0-1.9; P=0.045), herbal medicine use (adjPRR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.3; P=0.005), heavy alcohol consumption (adjPRR 2.3, 95% CI 1.3-3.9; P=0.005), occupational fishing (adjPRR 2.5, 95% CI 1.2-5.3; P=0.019) and chronic HBV infection (adjPRR 1.7, 95% CI 1.0-3.1; P=0.058). Among HIV-infected participants, ART reduced fibrosis risk (adjPRR 0.6, 95% CI 0.4-1.0; P=0.030). CONCLUSIONS: The burden of liver fibrosis among HIV-infected rural Ugandans is high. These data suggest that liver disease may represent a significant cause of HIV-related morbidity and mortality in Africa.

Pubmed : 21555823