HIV and hepatitis C – not a sentence

HIV and hepatitis C occur and develop in parallel in more than 35% of patients. Hepatitis virus has a significant impact on HIV treatment, so patients need special care, lifestyle changes and quality therapy.

Attention: The simultaneous presence of hepatitis and HIV in the human body is referred to as co-infection.

Hepatitis C (flavivirus) is an inflammation of the liver that is almost asymptomatic. Failure to treat it can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure.

Among the more frequent symptoms of hepatitis C can be distinguished:

  • asthenia,
  • weakness,
  • rapid fatigue,
  • the appearance of vascular stars,
  • ascites,
  • nausea and vomiting,
  • joint pain,
  • no appetite.

We suggest to find out right now what is more dangerous – hepatitis C or HIV, what life expectancy of a patient with co-infection and what is needed to get the results of a quantitative analysis.

How is the infection transmitted?

HIV and hepatitis C - not a sentence: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Cases when HIV and hepatitis C are simultaneously diagnosed in patients are common in Russia.

The reason for this is similar mechanisms of virus transmission:

  • “blood through blood”,
  • at unprotected sexual intercourse.

Methods of hepatitis C transmission include delivery – from mother to child. However, infection does not occur during pregnancy, but through blood contact during (or immediately after) the birth of a baby.

2-3% of cases (very rare) of hepatitis virus infection occurs at home – with the use of a single razor (if an infected person has previously hurt himself), at the contact of cuts, etc.).

Load on the liver

Hepatitis C is not HIV; it is important not to confuse two different diseases that differ in their symptoms and development mechanism. However, their presence in the body has a very negative effect on the liver.

If the hepatitis virus directly affects the hepatic tissue, then HIV infection does not attack liver cells (immunodeficiency virus “interest” lymphocytes). However, drugs prescribed in HIV contribute to the intensive progression of the hepatitis C virus.

In case of coinfection, the effect on the liver is intensified – healthy liver tissue rapidly turns into cirrhotic, which then leads to liver failure. HIV and hepatitis C lead to cirrhosis and fatty hepatosis.

How many people live with two infections?

HIV and hepatitis C - not a sentence: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Simultaneous detection of HIV and hepatitis – how many people live with this diagnosis? It is impossible to give an exact answer, but with timely and correct treatment of hepatitis the patient can continue for a long time.

Hepatitis is initially asymptomatic, but after some time it begins to develop and can be diagnosed. Patients will live a full life with Hepatitis C and HIV, following all the instructions of the doctor and without disrupting the schedule of drugs.

Factors that affect the quality of life of people with co-infection:

  • patient’s age,
  • the presence (absence) of disability,
  • immune system status,
  • related diseases.

Remember, no one will give an accurate prognosis of life with simultaneous hepatitis C and HIV in the body – it depends primarily on the patient, his lifestyle and treatment level.

Impact of HIV on the course of HCV

HIV accelerates HCV development with highly active antiretroviral therapy (due to drug exposure). Viremia (presence of various viruses in the bloodstream) is twice as high in patients with co-infection.

On average, hepatitis C together with HIV leads to cirrhosis of the liver after 7 years, but in HCV monoinfected patients this period is more than 3 times higher.

Impact of immunodeficiency virus on hepatitis C:

  • accelerated development of liver fibrosis,
  • increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma,
  • increasing death rate.

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