First let’s look at the two Aids is a virus and so is Hepatitis C however, they are different viruses. Aids (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The hepatitis c is caused by HCV.
Treatments Of Each
HCV is treated with some medications such as interferon, ribavirin, and sometimes telaprevir or boceprevir depending on which genotype of HCV you have been infected with.
HIV is treated with 5 different classes of drugs generally if you are taking drugs for HIV you will take 3 different antiviral drugs from 2 different classes.
Can You Be Co-Infected With Both HIV And HCV?
Yes you can have both HIV and HCV at the same time simply because both are spread by blood-to-blood contact with an infected person. Example someone with HCV could come in contact with the blood of someone who has HIV and vice versa, there by becoming infected with both. At that point they could spread both to someone else who had contact with their blood.
Things You Should Know About Being Co-Infected
Having one or the other of these viruses is stressful and can be very harmful to your body, having both is very harmful and you really need to get treatment to protect your body from extreme liver damage.
- HIV increases liver damage to those who are co-infected this seems to be due to the anti- HIV drugs but your healthcare provider should be able to help with drugs that are easier on the liver
- HCV does seem to speed up HIV progression
- Co-infected people are much more likely to be depressed
- Co-infected people are more likely to have a higher HCV viral load meaning that treatment for HCV is less likely to work
Which Should Be Treated First?
If you are co-infected with both HCV and HIV which should be treated first? That is something your doctor will have to decide after looking at your test results. It really depends on the viral load of the HIV. If it is low and cell counts are high enough then your HCV should be treated first. This way the liver can be in better condition when you start the anti-HIV medications.
However, if you meet the requirements for HIV treatment then the HIV should be treated first as leaving HIV untreated for 6 months to a year could have serious consequences. Also some HIV drugs must be avoided when treating HCV. You should didanosine (ddI) with Ribavirin. Keep retrovir (AZT) off the menu during HCV treatment because it increases the risk for anemia.