HIV & Hepatitis C Co-infection

HIV & Hepatitis C Co-infection

HIV and hepatitis C co-infection means that a person has both HIV & hepatitis C. Any diagnosis can be difficult and having two infections can be more stressful.
The information in this booklet should help you feel more in control of some of the treatment choices so that you can focus on other things you want to do in life.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a disease that infects the liver. HCV can cause lifelong infection, and over time it can cause fibrosis (mild to moderate liver scarring), cirrhosis (serious liver scarring), liver cancer, liver failure and death.

There is a cure for hepatitis C; hepatitis C treatment can completely clear the virus from the body. But there is no vaccine for hepatitis C and the body does not develop protection against the virus, so it is possible to become infected again.


HIV mostly infects CD4 cells, also known as T-cells. These white blood cells coordinate the immune system to fight disease. When your immune system breaks down, you can develop many serious, often deadly infections and cancers known as opportunistic infections.

There’s no cure for HIV, but with the right treatment, care and support, most people with HIV can stay healthy and live long healthy lives.


A person can be co-infected and not know it. Both HIV and hepatitis C are slow-acting viruses. People can be infected for years with either virus without having any signs or symptoms of illness.

HIV can worsen hepatitis C. Not only does HIV increase the risk of liver damage, but it can also speed up the onset of liver damage following infection. It is important for people who are coinfected with HIV and HCV to work closely with their health care providers in order to safely and effectively monitor and treat both conditions.

This booklet covers:

  • What is co-infection?
  • How do you know whether you are co-infected
  • Coping with being co-infected
  • Will you be sicker because you are co-infected?
  • Things you can do to live better
  • Treatments
  • Deciding to start treatment
  • Which treatment to take first?
  • How to know whether treatment is working
  • Protecting yourself and others
  • Pregnancy
We hope that this free publication from Body Positive will help you:
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Published: Oct 2015
File Size: 1.2MB
If you would like a printed copy of this booklet sent to you instead please contact us
This booklet is a reproduction for New Zealand of an original booklet published by CATIE (Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information)
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