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 treated 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 a common cause of cirrhosis of the liver in the United States, and a leading reason for liver transplantation. In cirrhosis, healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue. You can find more information on the VA Hepatitis C website
Will coinfection affect my treatments?
Some medications used to treat HIV and hepatitis C cannot be used together, so your clinicians will select your medications carefully.
With the current generation of hepatitis C drugs, the chance of curing hepatitis C is very high. Everyone with hepatitis C should be treated, with the goal of clearing hepatitis C from the body. Working closely with your medical providers will give you the best chance for successful treatment.