Hepatitis C is a leading cause of death among people living with HIV. It’s estimated that between 25 percent and 33 percent of all HIV-positive people in the United States are coinfected with hep C. Luckily newer drugs on the market have increased hepatitis C cure rates. Although all of the new drugs are not officially approved yet for those coinfected with HIV, these potentially game-changing meds are being studied in clinical trials and approval is expected in the near future. What’s more, other promising hep C drugs are in the research pipeline.

Just like HIV, it’s important to get tested for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and get connected to care. POZ asked you if you’ve been tested and/or treated for hep C. Here are your responses.

Have you ever been tested for hepatitis C?
85%  Yes
8%    No
7%    Not sure

Top 3 reasons for not starting hep C treatment:
1.    Waiting for new medications to become available
2.    I don’t need treatment yet
3.    Worried about side effects

Where do you get your hepatitis C information?

34%  Health care provider
25%  Friends and family
13%  The Internet
10%  Magazines or books
7%    Hepatitis newsletters
6%    Hepatitis support groups
5%    A national or local organization

Who is responsible for managing your hepatitis C?
17%  Primary care physician
55%  Infectious disease specialist
11%  Gastroenterologist
15%  Hepatologist
2%    Other

How long ago were you diagnosed with hepatitis C?
45%  More than 10 years ago
21%  6 to 10 years ago
28%  1 to 5 years ago
6%    Less than a year ago

If you have hep C, have you ever been on treatment?
47%  Yes
53%  No

Why did you get tested for hepatitis C?
72%  Health care provider suggested it
23%  I asked to be tested
5%    I was notified by a public health official that I might be infected

Source April/May 2011 POZ Survey