to treat both diseases at the same time. HIV can people who are recently infected. Your age, weight Are you HIV positive and newly
cause the Hep C virus to reproduce more quickly.
and the amount of Hep C virus in your blood can also diagnosed with hepatitis C (Hep C)?
Do you have one virus and think you
liver damage and liver cancer more quickly than people who have only Hep C. Having HIV makes For information about your treatment options, check might be infected with the other?
Hep C harder to treat because the immune system out the CATIE Fact Sheet on Pegetron and CATIE is weaker. Having Hep C also makes HIV harder to treat. Many of the medications used to treat HIV are processed by the liver. A liver badly damaged by Hep C cannot process drugs as well. Although Are there side effects to
generally safe, the risk of side effects with HIV Hep C treatment?
What is HIV and Hep C
Yes. Almost all people taking treatment for Hep C co–infection?
will experience side effects. Some common ones are: When people have HIV and another major infectionsuch as Hep C, they are co–infected. HIV is a virus I have HIV. What are my
• flu–like symptoms such as fatigue, headaches that attacks the immune system, killing the CD4+ treatment options for Hep C?
cells that help the body fight off infection. Hep C is Your doctor will see how healthy your liver is by a virus that attacks the liver, and can cause liver doing blood tests and other procedures such as damage (cirrhosis), liver failure and liver cancer. You an ultrasound or biopsy of your liver. You will then might also hear the Hep C virus referred to as HCV.
discuss Hep C treatment options based on thehealth of your liver, immune system and other Side effects often become less intense during the factors. Together you will decide if treatment for course of the treatment. And there are many ways to How do I know if I’m co–infected?
Hep C is right for you at this time.
manage them. For example, you can reduce flu–like If you have either HIV or Hep C, you are at risk for symptoms by taking over–the–counter medication the also having the other virus because both can enter In co–infection, Hep C treatment is a combination of two antiviral drugs: ribavirin (Pegetron capsules orCopegus) and a long–lasting form of interferon Depression is a very common side effect that deserves The only way to find out for sure if you are infected called pegylated interferon (Pegetron or Pegasys).
attention. About one out of every three people treated with HIV and Hep C is by being tested. Each virus is Both are taken for about one year. Once you start for Hep C can develop mental health problems, detected by a different test, so you need both an HIV taking these medications, your doctor will monitor including depression. Because of this risk, if you your blood regularly to see whether the drugs are have a history of serious mental health problems, or working. If the level of Hep C virus in your blood has you are drinking alcohol or taking street drugs, you You might be co–infected and not know it. Both are not fallen significantly after three months, your may not be ready for Hep C treatment right away.
slow acting viruses. People can be infected for years with either virus without having any signs or Some doctors start their patients on medications to How well you respond to treatment depends on minimize the risk of depression a month before many factors. Among the most important are the starting Hep C therapy. If you are using substances, strain of Hep C you have and the extent of liver you may want to talk to your doctor or nurse about Why is HIV and Hep C co–infection
damage. Some strains are harder to treat than how to quit drinking alcohol or get help for a problem?
others. And the more extensive the liver damage, dependence on street drugs. These changes will Being infected with both HIV and Hep C is a problem the poorer the response will probably be.
because each one is very hard on your body. Whenyou are co–infected, each disease makes the other As well, people who have been co–infected with Because of side effects, some people are tempted to one worse. You can get sicker faster, and it is hard Hep C for many years generally do not do as well as stop their Hep C treatment. But for the treatment to work, it is important to take all doses exactly as What can I do to
Both HIV and Hep C can pass from person to prescribed. If you experience bad side effects, protect my health?
person. HIV spreads during unprotected sex and you should talk to your doctor or nurse about If you think you might have been infected with by using contaminated needles and other drug HIV or Hep C, get tested. All treatments work • If you have HIV, you should consider getting a better when you are diagnosed early, before the contaminated needles, straws, spoons and other hepatitis C test because effective management viruses have time to damage your immune system drug equipment used to inject or snort drugs.
Are Hep C treatments safe
Unprotected sex is another way to transmit Hep C, during pregnancy?
particularly among people with HIV. There is also a No. The drugs used to treat Hep C can harm a If you are co–infected with HIV and Hep C, small risk that Hep C can be spread by unsafe fetus. Women who are pregnant or are thinking protecting your liver is important. It’s a vital organ tattooing and by sharing razors, scissors • Hepatitis C treatment can affect your HIV about having a baby should NOT use the drugs in your body. It processes vitamins and minerals treatment. You and your doctor will decide to treat Hep C during pregnancy or for at least six and filters your blood. Protecting your immune months before becoming pregnant. This is also system is important too. It helps you fight off on the best way to manage both infections.
true for the male partner of women who are or want to get pregnant. If you or your partner are • If you use drugs, do not share or re–use needles • Hepatitis C treatment involves daily pills plus pregnant or want to have a baby, talk to your If you are infected with HIV, Hep C or both, here are or other equipment. Cleaning equipment with weekly injections. Your doctor can give you some ways you can protect your liver and your bleach will kill HIV, but it may not stop Hep C.
advice on how to deal with the side effects • Practice safer sex. Use condoms.
• Do not donate blood, semen or organs.
Do Hep C treatments have any
• Practice safer tattooing. Do not re–use needles.
effect on HIV treatments?
• Get lots of sleep and exercise. If you cannot sleep • Do not share razors or toothbrushes.
• Protect yourself and others by not sharing They can. Tell your doctor about all the medications drug equipment and by having safer sex.
you are taking so that he or she can be sure that they • Avoid alcohol and street drugs. They can damage do not affect each other. Because of the interaction Want more information about HIV
between medications for HIV and Hep C, some and Hep C co–infection?
CATIE (Canadian AIDSTreatment Information doctors prefer to treat one disease at a time.
Your doctor and other members of your health care Exchange) provides extensive information about • Be vaccinated to protect yourself from team are good sources of information. They should all aspects of HIV treatment. We also provide Sometimes doctors treat Hep C first to limit the be able to answer your questions about HIV and information on Hep C. All calls, mailings and other damage it may cause to the liver. When Hep C is • Tell your doctor if you are taking any other drugs, Hep C co–infection and your treatment options.
contacts are treated confidentially. Contact CATIE treated early enough, it may be possible to get rid of including prescription and non–prescription You might want to use this brochure to start a all signs of the virus in the blood and reverse the medications, and complementary therapies. They discussion. For more detailed information, be sure may interact with your HIV or Hep C treatments.
to check out the CATIE Fact Sheet on Hepatitis C.
• If you are considering herbs or supplements for Sometimes doctors choose to treat the HIV first to increase CD4+ cell counts and strengthen the • Protect yourself from re–infection with HIV or Hep C.
Production of this publication has been made possible through financial contributions from: immune system. People living with HIV who haveCD4+ cell counts over 500 may respond better to the treatment for Hep C than those with lower CD4+ What can I do to protect myself
and others from HIV and Hep C?
In addition to protecting others, it is very important to
Decisions about particular medical treatments should always be made in consultation
In some cases, doctors treat both HIV and Hep C reduce your chance of being re–infected with other with a qualified medical practitioner knowledgeable about HIV-related illness and thetreatments in question. The Canadian AIDSTreatment Information Exchange (CATIE) in at the same time. They will take extra care to strains of either virus. The more strains you have, the good faith provides information resources to help people living with HIV/AIDSwho wish ensure that the treatment for one disease is not to manage their own health care in partnership with their care providers. Informationaccessed through or published or provided by CATIE, however, is not to be considered medical advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information Printed on paper made from 100% post–consumer waste published by CATIE. Users relying on this information do so entirely at their own risk.


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