May 11, 2002
I have recently been undergoing treatment for hep c with some wonderful results. I have not only responded by the 10th week of treatment, but I have cleared the virus. Does this mean that I am no longer contageous, or should I still be concerned about transmission?? Thank you.
Response from Dr. Fried
That is good news! An early virological response (clearance of HCV from the blood early during therapy) is the first step to "cure" of HCV. The real test will come after therapy is stopped. If you remain negative for HCV RNA in blood six months after stopping treatment, this is considered a sustained virological response, or essentially cure. The chances of relapse after this time is very, very small. Until this happens, you should consider that you are potentially infectious (although much less likely given the absence of detectable virus in the blood) and follow the common sense precautions that are recommended. Even after successful therapy, you should not try to donate blood because the antibodies to HCV will be present.
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