The promising results of a trial in which patients were given combination therapies for both viruses will be reported to the conference of the Infectious Diseases Society of America in New Orleans.
Patients in the trial were given a combination of interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin to treat HCV for a period of up to 14 months. 85 per cent were also receiving powerful drug treatments for HIV.
"Persons co-infected with HIV and HCV be considered for treatment with combination interferon and ribavirin."
Researchers at the Cabrini Medical Center, New York, USA, will report on Friday that 40 per cent of the patients had a sustained virological response - with levels of HCV becoming undetectable within six months.
Dr Douglas Dieterich, chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at the hospital, said: "By lowering liver toxicity, hepatitis C treatment also allows physicians to treat HIV more aggressively".
"Some of the most effective and widely used HIV treatments may cause liver toxicity, which can halt treatment in co-infected patients unless we stop hepatitis C from attacking the liver at the same time."
Guidelines for treating jointly infected patients have been issued by the Hepatitis Resource Network of which Dr Dieterich is president.
The guidelines say that doctors should carefully monitor liver function during treatment and stagger the start of the different therapies.
HRN vice-president Dr Mark Sulkowski, of John Hopkins University, Maryland, USA, said: "Effective HCV treatments are available, and it's essential that persons co-infected with HIV and HCV be considered for treatment with combination interferon and ribavirin."
Report Copyright: Englemed Health News at http://www.internationalmedicalnews.com