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Many hepatitis C patients also have HIV

Category: HIV

Individuals who have hepatitis C (HCV) may benefit from HIV testing as well, as many of those with the infection also have the potentially deadly STD.

Dr. Douglas Fish, a professor at the Albany Medical Center, recently wrote in Medscape Today that anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of those infected with HIV also have hepatitis C. The chronic liver disease can seriously decrease an individual's likelihood of successfully battling HIV. However, he added that treating the two conditions together could increase a patient's chances.

"We should now be looking for reasons to treat our HIV/HCV co-infected patients, as opposed to looking for reasons not to treat," he wrote. "The therapeutic pipeline for newer anti-HCV therapies is rich, and these therapies will have to be studied in co-infected populations for safety, tolerability, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic interactions with available antiretroviral medications."

Injection drug use is one of the main reasons for HIV/HCV infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Programs targeting these individuals may help prevent the spread of the infections.

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