Hepatitis is a virus that affects the liver. Some people are living with different types of hepatitis. When someone with hepatitis B (HBV) is also living with hepatitis C (HCV) the term used is HBV/HCV coinfection. The prevalence of HBV/HCV coinfection is not precisely known. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, about 25 percent of people with hepatitis C in the United States had positive hepatitis B markers.
Although both viruses target the liver, they are completely different viruses. Hep B is a DNA virus, whereas hep C is an RNA virus. Each virus relies on a different part of the cell in order to replicate. Like hep B, hep C can cause lifelong infection; over time, it can cause fibrosis (mild to moderate liver scarring), serious liver damage and death. Having both HBV and HCV puts a huge strain on the liver, increasing the risk of cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure and the need for a liver transplant.
This burden to the liver may be reduced, because, unlike hepatitis B, hepatitis C is curable. The FDA recommends hep B testing for all people before beginning hep C treatment and to monitor individuals who test positive for hep B flare-ups or reactivation during hep C treatment as well as during follow-up after treatment. Visit HCVguidelines.org for additional information.
Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for people who have not had hep A.
If you are living with HBV and are not coinfected with HCV, visit the Hepatitis B Basics to learn about the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of hepatitis B.
If you are living with HCV and are not coinfected with HBV, vaccination against hepatitis B is highly recommended. Visit the Hepatitis C Basics to learn about the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of hepatitis C.
Click here to learn about coinfection of hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Last Reviewed: June 29, 2023