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long term Hep C.
Jun 15, 2000

Dear Doc........

I contacted my Hep C and my HIV separately. I contacted the Hep C in 1983. The man who gave it to me contacted Hep C in 1979, and my current boyfriend contacted Hep C in the early 1970's. My question is, I have read of people surviving Hep C for very long periods of time, of the 3 people that I mentioned, including myself, none of us show any symptoms of active Hep C. even when I was on meds for HIV, my liver levels didn't rise. Is it possible that I will NEVER have active Hep C? The man who gave it to me was a heavy drug abuser and alcoholic, and his is STILL inactive. One reason that I ask is that the genotype of my Hep does not respond well to drugs, and since I have HIV the chance of getting a liver is slim.

Thank you.

Response from Dr. Dieterich

Dear Longterm,

It is possible to live a long time with hepatitis C. The longest I have seen is over 50 years, when a patient of mine finally died of cirrhosis and liver cancer from his hepatitis C. Some people will never have problems, just like HIV. However it is important to determine which people have advancing liver disease and they should be treated and which people have no damage yet. They are the ones that can wait. I would not consider genotype an impediment to therapy, it merely lowers the chances of a cure, but does not abolish it. Get a PCR and a liver biopsy and then make a decision about treatment when you have all the information! DTD



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