SPANIARDS infected with both HIV and the hepatitis C virus are less likely to be cured than people of other nationalities, because of their genes.

Most coinfected Spanish patients are considered ‘difficult to cure’ due to their genetic makeup, according to data presented at the AASLD/ EASL Special Conference on Hepatitis C in New York.

The research was carried out over six months in a specialist clinic in Madrid, with 161 participants undergoing analysis, of which just 30% were fully cured.

“The current profile of HIV-HCV coinfected patients in Spain is dominated by particularly difficult-to-cure individuals who do not usually respond to new direct-acting antivirals,” said the research report.

“Current hepatitis C treatment does not seem as successful in coinfected patients. By contrast, HIV status seems to be controlled in most coinfected individuals.”

The one-off conference brought together the world’s top specialists on treating hepatitis C to share their insights on global epidemiology, barriers to care, and potential solutions to improve global access to therapy.

National health statistics state that over two-thirds of people with HIV in Spain are also infected with hepatitis C.

HIV and hepatitis C are both contracted by sharing bodily fluids and therefore people often end up contracting both diseases simultaneously.

Having unprotected sex or sharing drug needles are common ways of contracting either disease.