Type of virus and how
Bloodborne. Also present in semen, vaginal
fluid and breast milk
Bloodborne. Also may be present in
semen and vaginal fluid
Sexual transmission common
Sexual transmission less common,
especially among heterosexual couples,
but does occur among HIV-positive gay
Risk of mother-to-child
Risk of mother-to-child transmission
can be dramatically reduced with use of
Risk of MTCT of HCV is higher if you
are HIV-positive. In the UK, women with
coinfection are recommnded to have an
elective C-section to lower the risk.
Risk from breastmilk
Breast feeding can transmit HIV
Risk of HCV transmission from breast feeding is considered very low (unless
mother's nipples are cracked or
Yes (at time of writing)
Not always chronic (can be cleared/
Risk of reinfection
Reinfection with HIV happens. In many
cases it may not have serious implications
unless the new virus is drug resistant (cases
of reinfection with drug-resistant HIV have
been reported, but no one is sure how often
this happens). HIV reinfection is the subject
of current research.
Reinfection with hepatitis C occurs,
and being reinfected with a different
genotype may make it more difficult
to treat. For example, if someone with
HCV genotype 2 is reinfected with HCV
Clearing the virus with a natural immune
response or with treatment doesn't
protect you from reinfection in the future.
How infectious outside the
HIV is a fragile virus. Dies quickly when
outside of the human body
HCV is a tougher virus. Can live for
days outside of the human body.
Is treatment always
Treatment is not always necessary, but it is
needed by the majority of people at some
time. Less than 5% people still have not
needed to start treatment 15 years after
Treatment is not always necessary.
Some people clear the virus naturallly
and some people do not get symptoms
even in chronic infection.
Speed of progression
People can live with HIV for many years
without symptoms (average 5-8 without
People can live with HCV for many
years without symptoms (average over
10-15 for people with coinfection).
Effect of treatment on viral
Levels of HIV in the blood can be
suppressed by treatment.
HCV can be virtually eradicated from the
bloodstream if treatment is successful.
Duration of treatment
Treatment can be lifelong.
Treatment usually lasts for a year or less.
Impact of viral load on how
fast the disease progressed
Viral load is linked to disease progression.
Viral load is linked to treatment
response, but not disease severity or
Choice of treatment
More than 20 drugs available, that
specifically target the virus.
Currently, standard of care is
combination therapy with pegylated
interferon plus ribavirin, two drugs that
do not specifically target the virus.
Drugs from new classes and existing
classes are currently in development.
Drugs from new and existing classes are
currently in development.