A hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection can be quite a dangerous combination for anyone living with HIV. HCV can progress faster in us and increase the risk of liver-related health problems. However, newer drugs offer people with HIV a functional cure so you can move beyond the risks of co-infection for good. The newest kid on the block, Merck’s Zepatier, may be able to successfully cure HCV in as little as 12 weeks. Zepatier (a fixed-dose combination of elbasvir and grazoprevir) is an interferon-free regimen that was found to cure 90 percent of HCV patients, including those co-infected with HIV or cirrhosis. In one study, 59 percent also reported regularly using recreational drugs like crystal meth during the study, and still found success on Zepatier.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every four people in the U.S. living with HIV also has hep C. Those living with both are three times more at-risk for liver disease, liver failure, and liver-related death. In fact, the CDC reports that liver disease is the leading cause of non-AIDS-related deaths among people with HIV, which is why any hep C cure could greatly improve the health outcomes for HIV-positive people.