Can you re-infect with Hep C after treatment?
Aug 7, 2007
My husband and I are coinfected with HIV/HEP C genotype 2. My husband has had elevated liver counts since dx in 1988. His biopsy showed cirrhosis and he is in the third week of pegsys/ribavirin treatment. Our questions are, if this treatment is successful, will he still have Hep C and could having unprotected sex with me reinfect him? We have been married for 19 years and until a few months ago had been on the same therapy for HIV. Viracept/Epivir/Zerit. He was recently switched to Atripla. The doctor that put us on the same therapy said it would be better for us to take the same meds to prevent infecting ourselves with drug resistant strains of HIV. I would hate to reinfect my husband with Hep C if this works. In 1988 his tcells were below 200 and he had 0 tcells in 1995 when he was found to have CMV in the parotid gland. Gancyclovir worked and on the new meds his tcells are now in the 700's but his liver isn't good. We've fought hard to still be here and healthy and would hate to jeopardize my husbands life if it could be prevented. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and many thanks to all of those at the body and especially the doctors who take the time in your busy lives to provide this valuable service to those of us living with HIV and Hep C.
Response from Dr. McGovern
You ask an extremely important question. Once someone is cured of hepatitis C after therapy, he/she can get infected again if exposed.
Sexual transmission of HCV is uncommon. However, I agree with you that since your husband has advanced liver disease, you will want to hold onto that cure, if it should happen. In situations like these, even if the risk is low, many will still opt for condom use to get the risk to zero.
Best regards to your husband and my wishes for a cure of HCV. Avoid alcohol in the meantime and tell him to take his medications with excellent adherence - just like he is doing with his HIV medications. Every dose counts.
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