for Veterans and the Public
How can I slow down my HIV and hepatitis C infections?
Having only HIV or hepatitis C is difficult enough. Finding out that you have both at the same time might seem overwhelming. The best way to keep your coinfection from becoming a serious health problem is to keep yourself and your liver healthy by following these guidelines:
Do not drink alcohol.
Alcohol weakens your immune system and damages your liver even when you are healthy. Drinking alcohol heavily when you have HIV and hepatitis C makes the damage much worse. Remember, there is no "safe" amount of alcohol you can drink when you have HIV and hepatitis C. It doesn't help to switch from "hard" liquor to beer, cider, or wine. If you need help to stop drinking alcohol, talk to your doctor.
Get vaccinated against other hepatitis viruses.
Having hepatitis C does not mean that you can't get other kinds of hepatitis. Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinations (or shots) to protect you from getting hepatitis A and B.
Avoid taking medicines, supplements or natural or herbal remedies that might cause more damage to your liver.
Even ordinary pain relievers in high doses can cause liver problems in some people. Check with your doctor before you take any natural or herbal remedy, supplement, prescription, or nonprescription medicine. And, make sure your doctor knows all the medicines you are taking for HIV and hepatitis C.
Don't use illegal drugs.
Remember that these drugs can make your illness worse. Talk with your doctor if you can't stop taking drugs.
Respect your body.
Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, and get restful sleep. Try to exercise every day.
Ask your doctor where you can get support in your area. If you already get services from an AIDS organization, ask about support groups for people who have HIV and hepatitis C.
HIV and hepatitis C are two of the most important medical issues today. Try to educate yourself about them. Ask your doctor if you need help making sense of anything you hear on the news or read in a newspaper.
Follow your doctor's advice.
Follow all instructions you get from your doctor. Try to keep all of your appointments. Call your doctor immediately if you have any problems.