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Hepatitis and HIV CoinfectionHepatitis and HIV Coinfection
          
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Third Time Around
Jan 4, 2009

Hi Doctor,

My husband is coinfected, HIV and Hep C. His HIV is undetectable and he is now on his third treatment for Hep C. The first two times he was on Peg Intron and then Pegasus, (both times he went undetectable) but relapsed within 3 months. He is currently on Infergen 3X a week, about two months now. He just got good news (I think it's good news) from his doctor yesterday that the Hep C was undetectable. My question is, if he should relapse again, will the treatment he's on now buy him some time to try newer therapies coming down the pipeline? In other words, does it help his liver at all when he goes undetectable? Thank you for your time. Have a Happy & Healthy New Year.

Response from Dr. McGovern

That is good news. I am very happy to hear it.

Yes, I would think about this viral suppression as a "bridge" to better therapies. Everytime HCV is suppressed, it is usually associated with improvement in liver histology. If his virus should reappear when treatment is stopped, then we usually think the improvements in liver histology are not maintained. However, he will still be a great candidate for these new therapies - all of which have been tried with interferon and ribavirin as the backbone.

It is also important to keep taking HIV medications for HIV suppression. Several studies suggest that HIV suppression is beneficial to the liver as well. This may be related to suppression of certain harmful inflammatory cytokines (ie, hormones) that cause more inflammation in the liver.



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