Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections account for a substantial proportion of liver diseases worldwide. Because the two viruses share similar modes of transmission, co-infection with the two viruses is not uncommon.
The exact number of patients co-infected with HCV and HBV is unknown. In patients with chronic hepatitis B, estimates of the rates of HCV co-infection vary from 9% to 30%. The primary concern with HBV/HCV co-infection is that it can lead to more severe liver disease and an increased risk for progression to liver cancer (HCC).
Treatment of HBV/HCV co-infected patients can represent a challenge. No standard recommendations exist for treatment of HBV/HCV co-infection, and therefore treatment must be individualized based on patient variables such as hepatitis blood test results and DNA or RNA levels, patient’s prior exposure to antiviral treatment, and the presence of other similarly transmitted viruses such as hepatitis D virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).