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Hepatitis/HIV Co-Infection Information

February 13, 2002

In the past 20 years, two newly described human viruses, the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (one infecting the liver and the other weakening the immune system) have changed the way that we look at viruses and human beings. These two viruses are similar in many respects. Both viruses have a single-stranded RNA genome (genetic material), they both have very high levels of viral replication, they both cause chronic subclinical infection that can persist for many years, and they share similar routes of transmission. However, HIV and HCV are also different in many respects.

Over the past several years we have expanded our understanding of HIV, HCV, and co-infection with both viruses. Eradication of HCV from the body should be much easier to accomplish than eradication of HIV. With the recent introduction of a new formulation of interferon conjugated to polyethylene glycol, (pegylated interferon) many HCV-infected individuals will have the opportunity to be "cured" from HCV infection.

To expand our continued education and knowledge of these diseases, a new brochure that is designed for HIV-infected individuals addresses hepatitis C virus (HCV), especially as it relates to HIV-infection. The brochure, which was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, covers who is at risk of HCV, how to prevent and treat HCV infection, and information surrounding liver biopsies. It also provides additional resources.

To view the brochure go to: www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/brochure/coinfection.htm#prevent.

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This article was provided by Seattle Treatment Education Project. It is a part of the publication STEP Ezine.
 

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