Hepatitis A and B
If you have HCV, it is important to be protected against hepatitis A and B (HAV and HBV).
You really don’t want another hepatitis virus to complicate your health.
Your clinic should check whether you are already protected against hepatitis A and hepatitis B and if not you should be offered vaccinations.
In the UK, these are free and available from your HIV or HCV clinic, from a sexual health clinic, or from your general doctor (GP).
Vaccinations for hepatitis A and B
HIV positive people should be vaccinated against hepatitis A (HAV) and hepatitis B (HBV) if they are not already protected.
How well vaccinations work is related to your CD4 cell count. The higher your count, the more likely that they work.
A low CD4 count (less than 200) reduces the chance that your immune system will respond to the vaccine, so an additional vaccine dose if often needed.
If your CD4 cell count is low, and you are at low risk for HAV or HBV, it may be better to start HIV treatment first.
Then you can be vaccinated when your CD4 count is stronger. Some guidelines recommend a higher dose of the vaccine for HIV positive people.
For example, UK guidelines recommend a double dose (40 μg) HBV vaccine for HIV positive people, given on months 0, 1, 2, and 6. A rapid course of HBV vaccine is available but is less effective in people with HIV and only used in specific circumstances.
Every year, your clinic should check that the vaccines are still working. If the protection has dropped, the clinic should give you a booster vaccination.
There is no vaccine against HCV but modern HCV drugs (DAAs) cure more than 95% of people on their first treatment.
Last updated: 17 August 2017.