Persistent GB Virus C Infection and Survival in HIV-Infected Men

Carolyn F. Williams, Donna Klinzman, Traci E. Yamashita, Jinhua Xiang, Philip M. Polgreen, Charles Rinaldo, Chenglong Liu, John Phair, Joseph B. Margolick, Dietmar Zdunek, Georg Hess, Jack T. Stapleton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

217 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: GB virus C (GBV-C), which is not known to be pathogenic in humans, replicates in lymphocytes, inhibits the replication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in vitro, and has been associated with a decreased risk of death among HIV-positive persons in some, but not all, studies. Previous studies did not control for differences in the duration of HIV or GBV-C infection. METHODS: We evaluated 271 men who were participants in the Multicenter Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Cohort Study for GBV-C viremia (by means of a reverse-transcriptase-polymerase-chain-reaction assay) or E2 antibody (by means of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) 12 to 18 months after seroconversion to positivity for HIV (the early visit); a subgroup of 138 patients was also evaluated 5 to 6 years after HIV seroconversion (the late visit). RESULTS: GBV-C infection was detected in 85 percent of men with HIV seroconversion on the basis of the presence of E2 antibody (46 percent) or GBV-C RNA (39 percent). Only one man acquired GBV-C viremia between the early and the late visit, but 9 percent of men had clearance of GBV-C RNA between these visits. GBV-C status 12 to 18 months after HIV seroconversion was not significantly associated with survival; however, men without GBV-C RNA 5 to 6 years after HIV seroconversion were 2.78 times as likely to die as men with persistent GBV-C viremia (95 percent confidence interval, 1.34 to 5.76; P=0.006). The poorest prognosis was associated with the loss of GBV-C RNA (relative hazard for death as compared with men with persistent GBV-C RNA, 5. 87; P=0.003). CONCLUSIONS: GBV-C viremia was significantly associated with prolonged survival among HIV-positive men 5 to 6 years after HIV seroconversion, but not at 12 to 18 months, and the loss of GBV-C RNA by 5 to 6 years after HIV seroconversion was associated with the poorest prognosis. Understanding the mechanisms of interaction between GBV-C and HIV may provide insight into the progression of HIV disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-990
Number of pages10
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 4 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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