What is it?
Hepatitis C is a disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. The virus, called hepatitis C virus (HCV) virus can cause infection throughout life, fibrosis (scarring of the liver mild to moderate), cirrhosis (scarring in severe liver), liver cancer, liver failure and death.
HIV can worsen Hepatitis C. HIV is not only increases the risk of liver damage, but can also hasten the onset of liver damage leading to infection. Co-infection with hepatitis C can also complicate the treatment of HIV, as some antiretrovirals (ARVs) - drugs for HIV - are more harmful to the liver than others. For these reasons, hepatitis C is considered an opportunistic infection related to AIDS, at least in the eyes of the Public Health Service of the United States and the American Society of Infectious Diseases.
It is important for people coinfected with HIV and HCV work closely with their health care providers to treat and monitor both infections effectively and safely.
If you are living with HCV and is NOT co-infected with HIV, please check our comprehensive lecture on hepatitis on the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of hepatitis C.