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Background and aims

Liver disease in people living with HIV co-infected with hepatitis C virus is a source of morbidity and mortality in Russia. HIV accelerates liver fibrosis in the setting of HCV co-infection and alcohol use. Zinc deficiency is common among people living with HIV and may be a factor that facilitates the underlying mechanisms of liver fibrosis. We investigated the association between zinc deficiency and advanced liver fibrosis in a cohort of HIV/HCV co-infected persons reporting heavy drinking in Russia.


This is a secondary data analysis of baseline data from 204 anti-retroviral treatment naïve HIV/HCV co-infected Russians with heavy drinking that were recruited into a clinical trial of zinc supplementation. The primary outcome of interest in this cross-sectional study was advanced liver fibrosis. Zinc deficiency, the main independent variable, was defined as plasma zinc <0.75 mg/L. Exploratory analyses were performed examining continuous zinc levels and fibrosis scores. Analyses were conducted using multivariable regression models adjusted for potential confounders.


The prevalence of advanced liver fibrosis was similar for those with zinc deficiency compared to those with normal zinc levels, (27.7% vs. 23.0%, respectively). We did not detect an association between zinc deficiency and advanced liver fibrosis in the adjusted regression model (aOR: 1.28, 95% CI: 0.62–2.61, p = 0.51) nor in exploratory analyses.


In this cohort of Russians with HIV/HCV co-infection, who are anti-retroviral treatment naïve and have heavy alcohol use, we did not detect an association between zinc deficiency or zinc levels and advanced liver fibrosis.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Originally published in PLoS One.



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