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Life expectancy issues for Hep C+HIV person
Feb 26, 2012

Dr. McGovern,

I just learned last night over dinner that my HIV+ friend, that completed 1 year of Hep C treatment, has learned the Hep C is still present. This, over martinis and two bottles of wine. I felt so guilty but he was the person initiating the drinks and dinner. No more alcohol with him, I can see now. Is he going to die because the one year program didn't work? I don't want to ask as his Mom said he was already upset and looking forward to dinner with the boys. Advice for how to best support my "sustah"?

Response from Dr. McGovern

I agree with your concerns about the alcohol. If your friend was recommended for HCV treatment, I would assume that he already has some scarring of the liver. If that is the case, then you would certainly want to limit alcohol intake since this can make his disease progress further.

I wonder if maybe you could one day mention to him that you heard about new treatments for hepatitis C. Although I don't know if your friend specifically has genotype 1 infection, you could mention that you saw a new treatment for HCV type 1 on a blog. I will include that link at the bottom on this message for you. We have a new blog on The Body devoted to HCV infection and will be adding more information to it shortly.

As you bring up this subject, you can also tell your friend that you heard HIV treatment that suppresses HIV may also be good for liver health (which is true!!) and then you can suggest immunizations to protect him against hepatitis A and B (which he probably go already) and staying away from alcohol to protect his liver.

When you put it this way, it won't feel so obvious that you are targeting alcohol alone and you can support your friend that way you want without upsetting him.

You are going to be a great support!

Starting Hep c treatment
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