University of California San Francisco (UCSF) researchers have found that among women co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), African Americans were less likely to die of liver disease. Of nearly 800 women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) at UCSF, 438 deaths occurred over a period of nine years. Of these, 37% were due to HIV/AIDS and 11% to liver-related disease. Liver-related disease was responsible for 21% of deaths among Latinas and 14% of deaths among whites, but only 8% of deaths among African Americans.
Overall, the incidence of death among the three groups was similar: 56% of African Americans and whites, and 52% of Latinas. The findings were published in the November 2012 issue of Hepatology. Racial differences in liver disease are already known. Among these, the study noted that African Americans have lower spontaneous HCV clearance than whites, yet slower rates of liver fibrosis once chronically infected.