Prior to the development of viral inactivation procedures in the mid-1980s, people with haemophilia who had previously received large pool plasma-derived factor concentrates were infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). A considerable number of these patients were also infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Before the introduction of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) in the mid-1990s, HIV was considered to be the most significant viral infection in co-infected patients and the importance of HCV infection was underplayed. However, since HIV infection has been so effectively controlled by HAART treatment, there has been a heightened awareness of the potentially life-threatening effects of chronic HCV infection in co-infected patients, in particular, the progression to cirrhosis and end-stage liver failure and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma.
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