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Cured of Hepatitis C: Is There Potential to Infect Others?

Nicole Cutler L.Ac. July 14, 2014

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Is your blood still infectious after being cured of Hepatitis C?
Cured of Hepatitis C: Is There Potential to Infect Others?

Careful evaluation of the information available shows that the medical community is torn on declaring SVR to be an absolute cure that renders the person no longer infectious. Before sighing in frustration, it is important to remember that the era of improved Hepatitis C therapy has just begun – and it will be many more years before we can eliminate many Hepatitis C uncertainties. In the meantime, Dr. Melissa Palmer, MD, author and internationally-renowned hepatologist suggests the following three scenarios for a return of Hepatitis C after SVR:

  1. The original diagnosis of being cured after therapy was incorrect due to either inaccurate blood testing or miscommunication.
  2. There has been a re-infection with a new strain of Hepatitis C.
  3. Truly relapsing after years of being virus-free must be reported to your physicians in order to alert other physicians.

A relapse of Hepatitis C after SVR is extremely rare, but not unheard of. Because of this possibility, those who have been cured of Hepatitis C are urged to take precautions so as not to accidentally expose anyone to their blood. Until more is known to eliminate this gaping grey area of infectivity, it is advised to err on the side of caution and assume that even those who have been cured may still spread Hepatitis C.

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http://forums.webmd.com/3/hepatitis-exchange/forum/495, Eradicated Hep C Still Dangerous?, Melissa Palmer, MD, Retrieved July 4, 2014, WebMD, LLC, 2014.

http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/10/14/infdis.jit541.abstract, Sequence Analysis of the Hepatitis C Virus in Relapse after Sustained Virological Response: Relapse or Reinfection?, Koji Hara, et al, Retrieved July 4, 2014, The Journal of Infectious Disease, October 2013.

http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/HCV_Neg.pdf, HCV Negative: A Guide for Healthy Living without Hepatitis C, Lucinda K. Porter, RN, Retrieved July 3, 2014, Hepatitis C Support Project, 2014.

http://www.healio.com/infectious-disease/hepatitis-resource-center-2013/late-relapse-after-svr-may-not-be-new-hcv-infection, Late relapse after SVR may not be new HCV infection, Retrieved July 4, 2014, Healio, 2014.

http://www.hepatitis.va.gov/provider/guidelines/2012HCV-definitions-of-response.asp, Definitions of Response, Retrieved July 4, 2014, US Department of Veteran Affairs, 2014.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/148905.php, Patients With Resolved Hepatitis C Likely Still Contagious According To Study, Retrieved July 3, 2014, MediLexicon International Limited, 2014.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/, Hepatitis C virus persisting after clinically apparent sustained virological response to antiviral therapy retains infectivity in vitro, MacParland SA, et al, Retrieved July 3, 2014, Hepatology, May 2009.

http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Hepatitis/Q232318.html, Hep C Infectious if Someone has “cleared” the infection?, Lynn Taylor, MD, FACP, Retrieved July 3, 2014, The Body, 2014.

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