Guide to Hepatitis B for People Living With HIV

June 2009

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For Martin Delaney


Welcome to this treatment guide for HIV-positive people who also have hepatitis B (HBV). This guide provides information on the prevention, care, and treatment of HBV, and the impact of HBV on HIV disease. It is designed to be accessible to people with no medical training. Where medical terms are used, they are explained in detailed but simple language.

Because HIV and hepatitis viruses are transmitted in similar ways, having both HIV and hepatitis B (known as HIV/HBV coinfection) is possible. This guide focuses on coinfection with HIV and hepatitis B, but since most of our understanding of hepatitis B comes from research studies done in people without HIV, most of the information provided here should also be useful for people who have HBV alone.

While people with HIV/HBV coinfection are living longer and healthier lives with effective HIV treatment, slower-progressing liver disease caused by hepatitis B, such as liver cancer and liver failure, are now emerging as major health concerns. There are many complicating factors in HIV/HBV coinfection that can change disease progression, depending on when you're infected with these viruses and how long you've had them. These factors underscore the importance of an individual approach to your own health care. Being informed about the range of care and treatment choices available to you may help you feel more in control of your health-care decisions.

At the end of this guide, we have included a list of organizations that can provide support, financial assistance, and current medical information. We have also included a glossary that defines some of the medical terms used in this guide.

Hepatitis B treatment options have greatly expanded in the last ten years, and our understanding of chronic HBV disease is likely to change as new research findings emerge. Please check online for updates at

You can request additional printed copies free of charge, or download the guide as a PDF from our website. A version in Spanish is also available.


This publication was written and compiled by Lei Chou. Sections of this guide were adapted from Guide to Hepatitis C for People Living with HIV, written by Tracy Swan and Simon Collins. Additional editorial comments were provided by Tracy Swan, Scott Morgan, Xavi Franquet, Francesc Martínez, Wim Vandevelde, and members of the Hepatitis B Information and Support List: Christine M. Kukka, Pam Ladds, and Edward Peritz. Thank you!

Editor: Andrea Benzacar
Medical Editor: Kenneth E. Sherman, M.D., Ph.D.
Spanish Translation: Grupo de Trabajo sobre Tratamientos del VIH (gTt). Barcelona (España).

Disclaimer: Information in this guide is not intended to replace information from your doctor or other health-care providers. Decisions related to your treatment should be made in consultation with your doctor.


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This article was provided by Treatment Action Group.


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