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Hepatitis and HIV CoinfectionHepatitis and HIV Coinfection
           
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Is Hep C the worst form of Hepatitis?
Jul 8, 2004

Dear barbara, last year i was cleared of Hep. C, genotype 3 (a,b,c,d,e i don't know). Looking into it I cannot understand how i could have contracted it. I am HIV positive and never shot up with needles. I did eat suchi at times. I was diagnosed with it in Dec. 2002; it cleared in Jan. 2003 but had to stay on meds till severe colitis kicked in, for which i was hospitalized 6 times in 2003. I have not had sex for over 15 yrs. before i was found to have Hep. c. My questions are: Could Hep. C be latent and show up on blood tests many yrs. after the last sexcapapde? Could my severe colitis be related to my having to take interferon & ribavirin? Is Hep. C the worst form of Hepatitis we know so far?

Response from Dr. McGovern

Both Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can cause chronic liver disease. However, hepatitis C infection usually causes chronic disease in about 75-85 percent of patients. Hepatitis B usually resolves and only becomes chronic in the minority of people. Hepatitis A can cause people to feel quite ill but usually does not cause severe disease and never goes on to be chronic. It is possible that you acquired your hepatitis C many, many years ago. The blood test for hepatitis C has only been available for about 14 years.

It is good news that you have cleared your hepatitis C with treatment. Rarely can treatment cause colitis. It is called "ischemic colitis" and I would not think it is the cause of your recurrent problem.

Dr. McGovern



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