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How Can Coinfection with HIV and Hepatitis C Affect Me

for Veterans and the Public

How can coinfection affect me?

HIV is the virus that causes HIV disease and AIDS. It is spread mainly through blood and sexual contact. You can have HIV and feel healthy. Over many years, however, the virus can wear down your body's immune system, making it hard for your body to fight off dangerous infections. Having HIV also can increase your risk of getting certain cancers.

Even though there is no cure for HIV infection, there are many medications that can help people with HIV live long and healthy lives.

You will want to learn much more about HIV, so that you can do everything possible to stay healthy. You also will need to learn how to avoid giving HIV to others.

Hepatitis C is a disease of your liver. It is caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus. The virus is spread mainly through contact with infected blood, and can be passed through sexual contact.

Many people don't know that they have hepatitis C, because the symptoms of the infection often are very mild. Some people with hepatitis C feel tired or have an upset stomach. Others may not have any symptoms at all.

Even if you do not have any symptoms, hepatitis C is still a serious illness. There are medications that can cure hepatitis C in most people. It is important to get care for hepatitis C because it stays in your body unless it is treated and cured. You can give hepatitis C to someone else and can develop other health problems yourself if it is not treated.

Hepatitis C is the main cause of cirrhosis of the liver in the United States in 2006. In cirrhosis, healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue. Over time, with cirrhosis, the liver can stop functioning well, and a person even may need to be considered for a liver transplant. You can find more information on the VA Hepatitis C websiteLink will take you to our Viral Hepatitis internet site

Will coinfection affect my treatments?

Having hepatitis C will not affect your HIV treatments. Some HIV treatments can damage your liver, so your doctor may choose specific drugs for you.

With the current generation of hepatitis C drugs, the chance of curing hepatitis C is very high. Working closely with your medical providers will give you the best chance for successful treatment.