People living with HIV are at higher risk of contracting hepatitis C. This because HIV can weaken the immune system, leaving the body more vulnerable to other infections. In this article, we discuss the symptoms, prevention, and treatment for hepatitis C in people living with HIV.
In this article, we discuss the relationship between hepatitis C and HIV. We also cover symptoms, prevention, and treatment for hepatitis C.
What is hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C can occur in two forms:
- Acute. This form of the disease is a short-term infection that usually develops within six months after contracting the virus. In most people, acute hepatitis C usually progresses to the chronic form.
- Chronic. Around 70-85 percent of people with a HCV infection develop chronic hepatitis C. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can lead to liver cirrhosis, hepatic fibrosis, or hepatocellular carcinoma.
What is the link between HCV and HIV?
Both HCV and HIV are bloodborne viruses. Using injected drugs is a significant risk factor for both viral infections. Although sexual transmission of HCV is less common than HIV, it can happen if there is direct exposure to blood containing HCV.
What is the risk of coinfection?
A coinfection is when someone has two or more infections at the same time. People living with HIV are at risk of developing coinfections such as hepatitis C because HIV weakens the immune system, which leaves the body more vulnerable to other infections and illnesses.
HIV and HCV are also transmitted in similar ways, which means that people who have HIV may be at higher risk of exposure to HCV. In the United States, over a third of people living with HIV also have hepatitis C.
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