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Guide to Hepatitis B for people living with HIV

Addthis

June 2009

By Lei Chou

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this treatment guide for HIV-positive people who also have hepatitis B (HBV). This guide provides information on the prevention, care, and treatment of HBV, and the impact of HBV on HIV disease. It is designed to be accessible to people with no medical training. Where medical terms are used, they are explained in detailed but simple language.

Because HIV and hepatitis viruses are transmitted in similar ways, having both HIV and hepatitis B (known as HIV/HBV coinfection) is possible. This guide focuses on coinfection with HIV and hepatitis B, but since most of our understanding of hepatitis B comes from research studies done in people without HIV, most of the information provided here should also be useful for people who have HBV alone.

While people with HIV/HBV coinfection are living longer and healthier lives with effective HIV treatment, slower-progressing liver disease caused by hepatitis B, such as liver cancer and liver failure, are now emerging as major health concerns. There are many complicating factors in HIV/HBV coinfection that can change disease progression, depending on when you're infected with these viruses and how long you’ve had them. These factors underscore the importance of an individual approach to your own health care. Being informed about the range of care and treatment choices available to you may help you feel more in control of your health-care decisions.

At the end of this guide, we have included a list of organizations that can provide support, financial assistance, and current medical information. We have also included a glossary that defines some of the medical terms used in this guide.