The people who wrote this guide have direct experience with HIV and hepatitis C. We have written this guide to encourage you to explore the range of care and treatment choices available to you. We hope this information helps you feel more in control of some of your HCV treatment choices, so that you can focus on other things you want to do in life.
This booklet focuses on coinfection with HIV and hepatitis C. Other hepatitis viruses (A, B, D, E, etc.) are very different from HCV and are only briefly discussed.
Because HIV and hepatitis viruses are transmitted is similar ways, having both HIV and hepatitis C (called HCV/HIV coinfection) is not unusual. In some countries, coinfection is more common than having HIV alone.
Some people have been living with HCV for over 20 years and have chosen to go without treatment. Others were infected more recently. Some of these recently infected people have had HIV for many years. Longstanding HIV infection may be a factor in deciding to treat HCV earlier rather than later. This range of experience underscores the fact that an individual approach to your own health care is essential.
We have included short personal quotations throughout this guide. You can find more detailed stories from people living with coinfection in the online United Kingdom version, and you can add your own story to this resource. The online United Kingdom version of this guide also includes hepatitis information not covered in the print version; see www.i-base.info/guides/hepc/extras/index.html.
An online US version will be available at www.treatmentactiongroup.org.
At the end of this booklet, we have included a list of organizations, web links, and online sources of support. We have also included a glossary that defines some of the medical terms used in this guide. Glossary terms are highlighted in the text in bold.
Our understanding of HCV/HIV coinfection is likely to change as new research findings emerge. Please check online for updates, especially if you are reading this edition after June 2008.