Viral hepatitis infection is a major global public health problem causing approximately 1.4 million deaths per year-more than the annual number of AIDS-related deaths. Ninety-six per cent of these deaths are from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma due to hepatitis B and C viruses, which are transmitted via blood and body fluids.
People living with HIV and hepatitis B or hepatitis C coinfection have a more rapid progression to cirrhosis. Liver disease has emerged as an important cause of death among people living with HIV coinfected with either hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C coinfection with HIV is reported across all key populations at higher risk of HIV, especially among people who inject drugs. This is due to the ease with which both viruses are spread through the sharing of non-sterile drug preparation and injecting equipment.