Since May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, we’re taking a look at hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Both are common coinfections among people living with HIV in the United States. In fact, about one-third of people with HIV also have one of these forms of viral hepatitis. That is largely because the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread between people in the same ways that HIV is spread – through sexual contact or injection drug use.
These viruses infect the liver and cause it to become inflamed. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Viral hepatitis progresses faster and causes more liver-related health problems among people with HIV than among those who do not have HIV. Liver disease, much of which is related to hepatitis B or C, is a major cause of non-AIDS-related deaths among people living with HIV.
Here are some quick facts on each of these serious infections:
- About 1 in 10 people living with HIV in the United States also has hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis B is preventable with a vaccine.
- Hepatitis B testing is recommended for all people with HIV.
- There is no cure for hepatitis B, but treatment is available.
- About 1 in 4 people living with HIV in the United States also has hepatitis C.
- There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C.
- Hepatitis C testing is recommended for all people with HIV.
- Treatment that cures most people is available.
Understanding how to prevent getting hepatitis B or C, who should get tested and how often, and what treatments are available is important for both people with HIV and people at risk for HIV. Get the full scoop on these two common viral coinfections among people with HIV on HIV.gov’s Basics page on hepatitis B and C.