What Happens if Someone has Hepatitis C and HIV?
When someone has both Hepatitis C and HIV, it is often referred to as HCV-HIV co-infection. This means that you have two infections in your body at the same time. HIV, the term for human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes AIDS. You can find more detailed information about HIV and AIDS on several Web sties, including:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs
- HCV Advocate
- The Body
HCV-HIV co-infection is fairly common. Overall, about one-third of all Americans infected with HIV also have Hepatitis C. And the rate of co-infection is much higher among injection drug users. More than half of people who have HIV and use injection drugs are also infected with Hepatitis C.
People that are co-infected can be effectively treated. However, since there are two infections to deal with managing them is more complicated. There is no cure for HIV, but it can be controlled. Hepatitis C can be treated successfully. Working closely with a doctor who specializes in managing co-infections will give you the best chance for successful treatment.
There are specific risks associated with co-infection. Having HIV, in addition to Hepatitis C, does the following:
- Quickens Hepatitis C disease progression
- Triples the risk for liver disease, liver failure and liver-related death
- Increases the chance that Hepatitis C will be sexually transmitted
- Increases the chance that a mother will infect her unborn child with Hepatitis C