The liver is one of the most important and largest organs in your body. It has been described as the body's 'chemical processing plant'. It plays a key role in food metabolism and digestion, in producing immune system proteins and importantly for people with HIV, in the breaking down of prescription and other drugs, and alcohol. The kidneys, along with the liver, also influence the way the body handles different doses of HIV treatments and other drugs.
Having hepatitis damages your liver, which can make processing your HIV treatments more difficult. Having HIV and hepatitis B or C can accelerate the progress of both infections and make both more difficult to treat. Hepatitis B is mainly spread through sex without a condom but can also be spread through sharing injecting equipment. Hepatitis C is mainly spread through sharing injecting equipment, and can be spread through sex. The number of gay men and other men who have sex with men getting Hep C is on the rise, particularly among those men living with HIV. Most of these men have gotten hep C through sex. For more information on sexual transmission of hep C among gay men and other men who have sex with men, you can visit The New Deal.
However, drinking too much or taking liver-damaging drugs can overload the liver's ability to process medicines effectively and deal with the normal toxins collected in everyday life.
There are a number of reasons why people with HIV may be more likely to experience liver damage.
Liver function should be checked regularly to determine if it is being damaged by lifestyle choices, infections such as hepatitis and some anti-HIV medications. This damage can prevent the liver from doing its job. You can visit AFAO's site on liver disease for more information.
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