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What If I Have Hepatitis C?

hrc_hcv_brochure_2-up_english_page_6If you have hepatitis C, there are a lot of things you can do to keep your liver healthy.

  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B viruses. Hepatitis A in particular can be dangerous for people who already have hepatitis C.
  • You may want to cut back on alcohol, since drinking alcohol greatly increases your risk of developing cirrhosis.
  • Try to have a balanced diet, including some fresh fruits and vegetables once in a while.
  • Review your medication and supplements, some over-the-counter, prescribed medications, and herbal supplements may be hard on your liver.
  • There are tests to monitor liver function, and tests to see whether the virus has done any damage to the liver.
  • There is a cure for hepatitis C!

Treatment for Hepatitis C

There have been new advances in treatment for hepatitis C, including highly effective medications that show the majority of people can be cured. Treatment is also easier than in the past because it usually involves pills only (no injections), there are fewer side effects, and treatment typically takes only 8–12 weeks.

Hepatitis C Treatment: Things to Consider
• There is a good chance treatment can cure hepatitis C, meaning after treatment, the virus is no longer present in your body. If you’re cured, you can no longer pass the virus onto others, but it’s important to take steps to prevent getting re-infected.

• Treatment works best when you take all of the pills on schedule. If you skip or miss some pills, treatment may not cure you. Think about how you can adhere to your medications before starting treatment.

• If you are HIV-positive, getting treated for hepatitis C can improve your overall health, make your HIV medications more effective, and increase HIV treatment options.

• Some people may be initially denied access to treatment based on drug or alcohol use or degree of liver damage. If you are denied access to treatment by your insurance company, you have the right to an appeal!

Living with HIV and Hepatitis C

If you have HIV and hepatitis C, you may be at greater risk for liver inflammation and scarring. There are things you can do to stay healthy, such
as getting routine follow ups with your doctor, taking all HIV medications as prescribed, and getting treated for hepatitis C.

HIV Medications and Hepatitis C
Talk to your doctor about all medications you’re taking because HIV medications may need to be adjusted for people who have hepatitis C.  Adhering to your HIV treatment can raise CD4 levels, improve immune function, and prevent liver-related complications from hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C Treatment and HIV
New hepatitis C medications show high cure rates in people co-infected with HIV, although treatment may take longer (up to 24 weeks), and your HIV medications may need to be adjusted while you’re being treated.

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