Purpose of review: To provide an update on the epidemiology and management of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in resource-limited settings (RLSs).
Recent findings: The global prevalence of HIV is 33.3 million people of whom 22.5 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. Hepatitis C affects 170 million people globally with majority of the infected persons living in sub-Saharan Africa and other RLSs. Transmission of these viruses varies greatly even within the RLSs. In the RLSs in Europe, Asia and Central/South America, most transmissions occur through injection drug use, whereas in Africa use of needles for medical treatment and blood transfusion may be the main modes of transmission. However, generally there is a rise in injection drug use even in RLSs.
Summary: Hepatitis C and HIV are common infections and are more prevalent in RLSs, but there are regional differences in transmission even in RLSs. Treatment is difficult in some of the RLSs and prevention by screening donor blood as well and use of sterile instruments in treatment of patients will be important in curbing transmission in some of these settings.