Screening may reduce risk of HIV-related liver inflammation
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Individuals infected with HIV may need to be screened for hepatitis C regularly, according to research conducted at Brown University and other partnering institutions.
A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that approximately 2 percent of men infected with HIV later contract hepatitis C, an infectious disease that can cause liver inflammation and scarring.
The research team said that current screening protocol typically involves testing for liver disease immediately after HIV is diagnosed. If hepatitis C is not detected, it is rarely looked for again, they said.
By following 1,800 HIV-positive men with no history of liver problems, the group recorded 36 later instances of hepatitis C. Three quarters of those who contracted liver disease reported never using intravenous drugs or medications, indicating that the risk of hepatitis C is still appreciable even among HIV-positive men who do not engage in risky behavior.
The authors concluded that people with HIV should undergo regular screenings for hepatitis C, adding that all sexually active adults should be tested for HIV in order to reduce the chances of spreading or contracting either disease. Online testing services may alert individuals to the presence of HIV.
One in five people with HIV is unaware of their infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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