What is hepatitis C? Hepatitis C
virus (HCV) is a disease that infects the liver. Hep C can cause
lifelong infection, and over time it can cause fibrosis (mild to
moderate liver scarring), cirrhosis (serious liver scarring), liver
cancer, liver failure and death.
is HIV? The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
mostly infects CD4 cells, also known as T cells. These white blood cells
coordinate the immune system to fight disease. AIDS (acquired immune
deficiency syndrome) is a condition caused by HIV. When your immune
system breaks down, you can develop many serious, often deadly
infections and cancers known as opportunistic infections.
HIV can worsen hepatitis C. Not only does HIV
increase the risk of liver damage, but it can also speed up the onset of
liver damage following infection. For these reasons, hepatitis C is
considered an AIDS-related opportunistic infection, at least in the eyes
of the U.S. Public Health Service and the Infectious Disease Society of
It is important for people who are
coinfected with HIV and HCV to work closely with their health care
providers in order to safely and effectively monitor and treat both
If you are living with HCV and are NOT
coinfected with HIV, please check out Hep's
comprehensive lesson on the diagnosis, monitoring and
treatment of hepatitis C.
If you are living with HIV
and are NOT coinfected with HCV, please check out AIDSmeds' comprehensive lesson on the
diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of HIV.
Last Revised: June 05, 2015
This content is written by the POZ and AIDSmeds editorial team. For more information, please visit our "About Us" page.