Treatment for hepatitis C has improved significantly over recent years and many people living with HIV clear the disease without treatment. However, hepatitis C (HCV) is one of the most common co-infections among PLHIV – an estimated 13% of PLHIV in Australia also have HCV .
A blood-borne virus, HCV can be contracted through unprotected sex, injected drug use and shared personal items (such as razors and toothbrushes). HCV is one of the world’s main causes of cirrhosis and liver cancer. HIV can increase the amount of HCV virus circulated in the body, which in turn increases the risk of cirrhosis, liver disease and liver cancer.
As HCV doesn’t necessarily present symptoms, for those at risk it is important to be regularly screened.