HCV... Cured or Still Infected?
May 27, 2017
Hello Doc Back A Year Ago I Took Harvoni For 12 Weeks And Came Back Undetected, Well Here It Is A Year Later And The Results Came Back <15 copies Quantitive, Confused Am I Still In The Clear Or Is It Coming Back? Thank You
Response from Dr. Young
Hello and thanks for posting.
Today's HCV treatments are revolutionary. A chronic viral infection that is a cause of liver failure and liver cancer is now curable with well tolerated, highly effective medications.
Indeed, current HCV treatment guidelines strongly recommend curative treatment "for all patients with chronic HCV infection, except those with short life expectancies that cannot be remediated by treating HCV, by transplantation, or by other directed therapy". It's an indictment of our health systems that with such effective and well tolerated medications that we haven't yet embarked on world-wide campaigns to cure everyone with this serious infection. Imagine if we had a 8- or 12-week cure for HIV, but less than 9% of individuals in the US were successfully treated- that's precisely the situation for HCV.
You've taken one of the recommended treatments and having an undetectable HCV viral load at the end of treatment (this is called sustained viral response or SVR). More specifically, SVR 12 or more weeks after completing treatment indicates that you've been cured. Your old HCV is not coming back.
It's important to recognize that being cured of HCV doesn't mean that you're immune to future HCV infection, and a some people who are re-exposed to the virus become reinfected.
Lastly, for those individuals who have cured HCV infection but had severe liver disease (advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis), screening for esophageal problems (varicose veins) and liver cancer should be done periodically.
I hope that this is helpful, and congratulations on being cured. BY
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