(HealthDay News) – African-American women co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are significantly less likely to die from liver disease compared with Caucasian and Hispanic women.

Monika Sarkar, MD, of the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a cohort study involving 794 HIV/HCV co-infected women to evaluate whether race and ethnicity affected all-cause and liver-related mortality. Of the 794 women, 140 were Caucasian, 159 were Hispanic, and 495 were African-American.

The researchers found that, during a median of 8.9 years and maximum of 16 years of follow-up, 438 women died, and 49 of these deaths were liver-related. Compared with Caucasian and Hispanic women, African-American women had significantly lower liver-related mortality (hazard ratio, 0.41 and 0.38, respectively) but similar all-cause mortality.

“Previous data have revealed racial/ethnic differences in immunologic response to HCV, which may affect rates of liver fibrosis,” the authors write. “Future studies incorporating fibrosis progression may help us to better understand these marked racial/ethnic discrepancies in liver-related mortality.”

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