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Complementary approaches

Many people with hepatitis use complementary or alternative therapies, either as a treatment for liver disease or to help relieve symptoms or side-effects.

Some people with liver disease use herbal treatments such as milk thistle or liquorice root. It is important to be cautious when considering such products. There is little or no evidence from clinical trials to show that most complementary and alternative therapies are beneficial for people with hepatitis B or C.

Use of these products can involve risks, including their own side-effects and interactions with other drugs. Always inform your HIV and hepatitis doctors and pharmacist of any other treatments you are taking or considering, including anything bought over the counter.

Some forms of complementary therapy may be able to help with some hepatitis symptoms or side-effects of treatment. These include acupuncture, massage, t’ai chi, yoga and meditation. Many people find that these therapies can be beneficial in reducing physical discomfort or mental stress. Search for practitioners via a reputable agency such as the Complementary Therapists Association (www.ctha.com). Again, inform your doctor about other approaches you are using.

People living with HIV and hepatitis B or C can benefit from adopting a healthy lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet. Try to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight is linked to fatty liver disease, which can worsen liver damage.

Since people living with HIV and hepatitis may have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, your clinic should regularly monitor your blood fats or lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) and blood sugar (glucose).

People living with hepatitis B or C should limit how much alcohol they drink, and those with liver damage should avoid alcohol altogether. Not smoking and cutting down or stopping recreational drug use are also important for overall health.

  • Eat a balanced diet including vegetables, fruit and wholegrains.
  • Get regular moderate exercise.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol and drug use.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Find ways to reduce stress.

See Further information for details of organisations that can provide more information and advice on living with hepatitis C.

HIV & hepatitis

Published December 2017

Last reviewed December 2017

Next review December 2020

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this booklet.

Hepatitis information

For more information on hepatitis visit infohep.org.

Infohep is a project we're working on in partnership with the European Liver Patients Association (ELPA) and the World Hepatitis Alliance.

Visit infohep.org >
This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.