Being diagnosed with an illness such as hepatitis C can be shocking for some, to say the least. Receiving a diagnosis of HIV and hepatitis C co-infection can be life-altering. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- 25% of patients living with HIV in the U.S. are co-infected with hepatitis C
- 80% of HIV patients whose intravenous (IV) drugs are co-infected with hepatitis C
For Keziah Gibbons, 32, (United Kingdom) and Steven Copeland, 54, (Boston) medication side effects were booth overwhelming and a struggle. The journey to treating an HIV and hepatitis C co-infection can be summarized in three points:
- Take steps to treat the co-infection
“The first question doctors may face in how to proceed with treatment is which condition to treat and how drugs will interact with each other, according to Amy Hampton, [former] hepatitis program director for Curant Health. The firm partners with health care providers and advocacy organizations to improve the lives of patients living with HIV and HCV by providing education and access to care and medications. “
- Understand and practice medication adherence
“’The beauty of these new hepatitis C drugs, like Sovaldi and Harvoni, is that there are far fewer interactions between those products and HIV treatments, including commonly prescribed Atripla,’ Hampton said. ’Co-infected patients are now able to start hepatitis C treatment without discontinuing HIV treatment. Difficulties in adherence are fewer than ever, but perfect adherence has never been more important.’ Dutifully taking medications as prescribed is essential, whether treatment is 12 weeks or more than a year.”
- Remain uplifted mentally to fight the illness physically
“’Besides the physical impact, coinfection affects mental health and mood, which, in turn, affects relationships, ‘said Simon Farnworth, a nurse practitioner for HIV and HCV coinfection. ’The main ways that I see patients’ lives impacted, particularly with interferon regimes, is the level of tiredness and lethargy they experience,’ he noted. ’This and other side effects, like mood changes, often result in strained relationships with family, friends and partners.’”
To read more about HIV treatment and hepatitis C co-infection, visit Hepatitis C Curetoday.com
For more information on Curant’s C The Cure Program for hepatitis C patients, click here.
For more information on Curant’s HIV treatment program proven to improve viral load suppression, click here.