Preventing and Treating Hepatitis C in People With HIV
Hepatitis C and HIV: Preventing Hepatitis C
The best way to prevent infection with hepatitis C is to stop injecting drugs or to never start. Substance abuse programs may help. If you continue to inject drugs, always use new, sterile syringes, and never reuse or share syringes, needles, water, or drug preparation equipment. Do not share toothbrushes, razors, and other items that might be contaminated with blood. Tattooing or body piercing may also put you at increased risk for infection with any bloodborne pathogen if dirty needles or instruments are used. Practicing safer sex can also help lower your risk for being infected with hepatitis C.
Treatment Options for Hepatitis C and HIV
There are certain drugs given to patients with chronic hepatitis C who are at the greatest risk for progression to serious diseases. These drugs include alpha-interferon or pegylated interferon, either alone or one of these in combination with ribavirin. This treatment program is not always successful, but even patients with HIV may benefit from this treatment. Your doctor or other healthcare provider will need to make the final decision about if and when you should receive treatment.
You should drink little or no alcohol during treatment and may be advised not to have alcohol ever again. Vaccination against hepatitis A and hepatitis B is also recommended for those who have hepatitis C.