You have treatment options
For some individuals, between 15-25%, the body’s immune system will clear the hepatitis C virus without treatment. For the others, medications are necessary to stop the virus from damaging the liver. Remember: HCV is curable, and TPAN’s staff can help you navigate the treatment process.
You’ve tested positive and confirmed the viral load, Now what? TPAN’s staff will refer you to a specialist who can prescribe a course of medication for HCV. HCV Treatment has come a long way in the last few years. The newest medications make it possible to potentially cure 90–100% of people living with HCV, including those living with HIV, through a regimen of pills taken for 8-12 weeks (sometimes more for experienced or hard-to-treat individuals). Newest medications can promise mild or no side effects. Learn more about successfully managing side effects of HCV treatment.
In most cases, your doctor will conduct another blood test to identify the genotype (strain) of the HCV virus. There are six major genotypes (labeled 1-6), which have different geographic origins and respond differently to treatment. Genotype 1 is the most common in the United States.
Knowing the genotype can allow your doctor to more effectively target the hepatitis C virus—although you may be infected with more than one genotype at a time. In addition to the genotype, your doctor will want to know about other factors that may influence your treatment, such as the health of your liver, and whether you’ve been treated for hepatitis in the past. Learn which treatment is right for you.
HCV medications are expensive. Positively Aware provides a list of patient assistance programs to assist with medication.
While HCV is curable through treatment, there is no vaccine, and it may be possible to become infected again after you’ve been cured. TPAN’s case managers and prevention specialists can discuss ways to manage your treatment and prevent recurring infection.
Learn more about the various forms of HCV treatment in Positively Aware’s Hepatitis Drug Guide.