I don't have the disease, but I am close to someone who does. I am very concerned because she claims that the disease is dormant and therefore I cannot get it. Is this true? Isn't the disease always contagious no matter whether the person is having symptoms or not??
Well - I think it truly depends on whether or not she has a VIRAL LOAD that is detectable any longer... Whether she is in SVR status...
I wouldn't go sharing needles or blood products - but you are fairly safe - as long as you use universal precautions with HCV.
HCV is transmitted through BLOOD TO BLOOD CONTACT... Contaminated blood must intermingle into the blood stream of the uncontaminated person in order to transmit the virus. It is not usually thought to be transmitted through casual contact or intimate contact --- including sexual contact. It must be blood into active blood. (Think injection or intravenous or shots for 99% of the cases.)
However - it is now becoming accepted that SVR status - after a specific amount of time is DURABLE --- and "CURED".
Please see Dr. Dietrich's explanation/answer to this question of mine:
Hep C cannot be dormant. What can be is that you have antibodies in your blood but no viral load. In these cases the immune system has beat the virus, probably in the acute phase when you first got HCV, and you have been spontaneously cured. If this is the case, you are not contagious.
If you have both antibodies and a viral load your blood is contagious. Period. No thing as dormant.
Remember that HCV is a blood-to-blood transmitted disease. Sex in a monogam relationship is considered very low risk.
I think it's important to note here that HepC is not carried in saliva, seminal fluid or breast milk, so there are different levels of 'contagious'. Blood to blood contact should be avoided regardless of anyone's status. The last survey I read on couples was around 13 couples (married or partnered), living together for 144 years collectively and of the 13 partners, the only 2 partners who tested positive had both indulged in unsafe drug practices.
Whether your friend is cured or not, he/she will need your support and, given he/she was brave enough to tell you, congratulations on coming to this site to gather more information. I hope you get all of your answers here.
"Of course Meki is right. If you have treated and received SVR status (sustained viral response) you are considered "cured", you have no viral load in your blood, and are therefore not contagious."
Yes , but you can relapse.
I believe that 3 - 12 months after the end of treatment is the most likely period when one could relapse. If you did relapse then you would not know it until you had done a viral load test. So you could achieve SVR and unwittingly infect someone because you relapsed and your viral load went sky-high without you realizing it.
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