Hepatitis C and HIV

Unfortunately a high percentage of those affected with HIV are also infected with the Hepatitis C virus. It is believed that nearly forty percent of HIV sufferers also have HCV.  This is because both viruses are transmitted the same way. They can be passed along by the shared use of needles or other drug paraphernalia or by unprotected sex because they are both transferred by blood-to-blood transmissions.   This means that it is not a surprise that people will be coinfected, having both infections, but it definitely makes treating them more difficult. Especially since Hepatitis C., also known as HCV, makes HIV worse, though it is known that it does not interfere with the medications used to treat HIV.

Studies conducted on people who are coinfected have found that this group seems to suffer a higher proportion of cases of depression, not a surprise when you think of what they have to deal with in their lives. The concern is that those who are feeling this way may be more apt to mix up their medications or even forget to take them.

One of the most difficult treatment issues with someone who is coinfected can be which should be treated first the HIV or the HCV? This must be decided based on severity and the progress of each infection. If the Hepatitis C is showing only mild symptoms then the HIV should be treated first. Leaving HIV untreated for six months to a year could be very hard on the patient's body and could lead to further complications down the way. On the other hand if the cell counts are high enough and the HCV is problematic then treating the hepatitis would be helpful in the long run. This is especially true because the liver will then be able to deal better with the strong drugs that need to be taken for HIV.

Those who are coinfected are at risk for the Hepatitis C virus to be much worse than others who are fighting only the one virus. With both, the patient may find that serious liver disease progresses much faster. Liver failure can actually occur.  Drug therapy for those who are coinfected is successful twenty five to fifty percent of the time depending on which genotype the HCV is. The results are better with type two and three then type one.  The drugs that are necessary to treat HIV can be very hard on the liver and so make for one more reason that trying to treat the HCV is very important.

When someone is coinfected the viral levels of the hepatitis are much higher. This means that the spread of the infection becomes that much easier and so the patient must work harder to control this potential for spreading. Do not share anything that may have even the minutest amount of blood on it. That includes toothbrushes, facecloths or razors.
If you're coinfected, or someone you love is, be sure the physician is able to treat you for both these difficult viruses.

Hepatitis news on the Web

Liver specialists in Nevada are seeing an increase in patients since health officials in February announced an outbreak of hepatitis C cases linked to an endoscopy clinic.

Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the Chinese hepatitis C virus drug market, dominated by conventional and pegylated interferons, will more than double by 2012 from $64 million in 2007 to $150 million in 2012.

Blood from donors and patients in Jersey is to be screened for HIV and Hepatitis C

Sept. 8 (Bloomberg) -- BioMerieux , the French maker of tests to diagnose infections such as HIV and hepatitis, said first-half profit rose 5.8 percent as higher sales in Latin America helped make up for a slowdown in the U.S.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Roche COBAS(R) TaqMan(R) HBV Test, the first assay for quantitating Hepatitis B Virus DNA approved in the U.S. The test uses Roche's real-time PCR technology to quantify the amount of Hepatitis B virus DNA in a patient's blood.

Intercell AG (ICLL) announced the six months follow up data of its exploratory clinical phase-II study targeting treatment-naïve Hepatitis C genotype-1 patients.

Pharmasset, Inc. announces the preliminary results of the fourth cohort of a 4-week Phase 1 proof-of-concept clinical trial evaluating R7128 1500mg twice daily in combination with the standard of care , Pegasys® plus Copegus® in 20 patients chronically infected with hepatitis C virus genotype 2 or 3 who had not achieved a Sustained Viral Response with prior SOC therapy.

A hepatitis E epidemic has killed 121 people in northern Uganda, where it erupted in October last year, a health ministry official said Thursday.

Roche has announced that the FDA has approved its Cobas TaqMan HBV test, the first assay for quantitating hepatitis B virus DNA approved in the US.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first nucleic acid test for hepatitis B virus (HBV) that measures the amount of viral DNA (viral load) in a patient's blood. Assessing a patient's viral load provides health care professionals with a highly sensitive method for gauging the progress of antiviral therapy in patients with chronic HBV infections.