Coinfection HIV & Hep C
Aug 20, 2014
i was coinfected, since being diagnosed in 2002 and obviously living coinfected long before that,my question is there any long term damage that can be done to the body from being infected that long,i have had problems with thyroid function,kidney,pancreas,and a slightly enlarged heart at one point since completeing interfuron therapy in 2/2007. It seems when these problems come up like thyroid function it is always a complicated ordeal as the endocronologist told me they cant give me meds because only one number in tests is coming back elevated, but yet if i get the symptoms that are not only scary but could be life threatning i have to be able to get to the ER as my doc stated it could be life threatning.i know hiv antivirals are somehow included in whats happening,but i was just wondering if maybe my body has taken a big hit with being coinfected for such a long time.I do still have scarring on my liver but my doc says my function tests are good.....
Response from Dr. Taylor
It is not clear to me from your question whether or not you were cured of hep C infection with interferon. If not, talk with your doctor about getting re-treated with some of the new pills coming out. Cure is beneficial, especially when there is co-existing HIV which can accelerate the pace of liver damage.
Regarding your question of whether there can be long term damage that can be done to the body from being infected with hep C regarding thyroid function, kidney, pancreas,and heart: Interferon itself can cause thyroid dysfunction which can persist even after interferon treatment ends. Interferon itself rarely can cause issues for the heart, but this becomes clear during the treatment. People living with HIV are at higher risk of certain types of heart disease than people not infected with HIV. Be sure not to smoke as this can make things worse.
Hep C is sometimes associated with cryoglobulin-relatated kidney disease. The hep C in a minority of people can lead to a protein, the cryoglobulins (detected in the blood and on kidney biopsy), 'clogging' the kidneys. If a person has cryoglobulin-related kidney disease due to hep C, this is a good reason to be treated and cured of hep C. Even without this protein, people with HIV and hep C both have a higher risk of kidney disease in many studies than do people with HIV alone.
Regarding the pancreas, this organ is involved in insulin production and diabetes. Interferon itself can worsen or prompt development of diabetes. There is an association between hep C and diabetes in some studies, meaning that the presence of one may increase the risk for the other, or worsening of one may worsen the other disorder.
Antivirals active against HIV are overall beneficial to health and benefits greatly outweigh risks.
If you have scarring in your liver, talk to your doctor about whether or not you have cirrhosis. If you do, talk with your doctor about optimal care for cirrhosis.
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