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Does HCV Treatment affect HIV Risk?
Aug 25, 2008

I am a single male who has recently started traditional Hep. C Treatment (pegylated interferon and ribavirin). I am also HIV Neg. While undergoing this treatment, am I at any greater or lesser risk of contracting HIV? I ask this because although I have always practiced safe sex except for perhaps unprotected oral sex without ejaculation, I am curious to know that since I am on two powerful anti-viral medications, if my risk of contracting HIV is lessened. Or because HCV Treatment lowers my White Blodcell Count, could this treatment actually increase my risk of HIV? Or is there no linkage between HCV Treatment & HIV risk?

Response from Dr. McGovern

You ask a good question.

There is no data on transmission of HIV while taking IFN therapy. However, as you accurately point out - your white blood cell count usually goes down. However I would expect that to be more of a risk for a bacterial infection than HIV per se.

Also IFN has modest anti-HIV activity - but I would NOT expect it to prevent an infection if transmission occurred.



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