for Veterans and the Public
HIV and hepatitis C coinfection
Coinfection is a medical term meaning that you have two or more infections in your body at the same time. If you are living with both HIV and hepatitis C, then you have HIV and hepatitis C coinfection. These two illnesses are very different, so it is important that you learn about both of them.
- Hepatitis C is a virus that can damage your liver slowly over time.
Why is HIV-hepatitis C coinfection an issue?
Many people who are living with HIV also have been exposed to other infections, such as hepatitis C. Over half of people who acquire HIV through injecting drugs also acquire with hepatitis C. Hepatitis C infection may occur through unprotected sex. Overall, more than one third of all Americans with HIV have hepatitis C, too.
Having both viruses also makes it a little harder to deal with either one. There are specific medical issues that are unique to coinfected patients.
What do coinfected people need to be concerned about?
Patients and providers always should try to bear in mind that there are two infections to address. HIV/HCV coinfections can be effectively treated in many people, but treatment regimens can be complex due to drug-drug interaction.