There's little doubting the tremendous impact HIV drug therapy has had on the lives, and futures, of HIV-positive people. Rates of opportunistic infections are still low in the United States and it's abundantly clear that people are living longer with HIV infection—thanks to the availability and widespread use of these treatments.
Unfortunately, the life-extending benefits of HIV drug treatment have opened up a new set of problems for many HIV-positive people. Thousands of HIV-positive people in the U.S. are also infected—or at risk of being infected—with one of several hepatitis viruses. Some of the hepatitis viruses can cause chronic infection, meaning that they remain active for many years and can lead to serious liver damage over time. And because many HIV-positive people are now at a much lower risk of dying from an AIDS-related opportunistic infections, they must now face the challenge of having to manage these other viral diseases that pose a threat to their health and lives.
Viral hepatitis, which can cause long-term liver problems, liver failure and liver cancer, is considered to be a leading cause of death among HIV-positive people. In turn, numerous HIV-positive people must fight two infections at once. AIDSmeds.com has prepared some lessons to help its readers better understand three hepatitis viruses that are a potential threat to their health: hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Each of the following lessons discuss the ways these hepatitis viruses are transmitted, cause disease, and are treated, particularly in people living with HIV: