I am afraid your story of hepatitis C being cured by your immune system after two years would be extremely rare. Not impossible but not probable.
Once a person has a viral load for more than 6 months after first being infected the vast majority are chronically infected.
I would question your test results so be on the safe side. Also viral load changes all the time so that isn't usual for your viral load to vary over time. Most importantly you don't want to have hepatitis C and not be aware of it. Most people who are chronically infected have no symptoms and don't know they are infected until they develop very advanced liver disease when curing the virus is most difficult.
I would get a second opinion. See a gastroenterology or hepatologist who specialize in hep C and liver disease.Have them interrupt the testing results and retest you if needed. You doctor may be giving you the wrong type of test of misinterpreting the results.
How a person becomes infected by hep C
The acute phase of infection
The term "Acute Phase" can be confusing. This is because it only refers to the 6 MONTH PERIOD OF TIME after the virus has first entered your body. It bears no relation to the acuteness of the symptoms or the severity of the disease.
Somewhere between 15% and 30% of people clear the virus spontaneously during the acute phase (6 month period). This happens when the immune system is able to eliminate all the viral particles in circulation and destroy all the infected cells. Evidence of the infection in the form of antibodies to hepatitis C will remain in the body for several years or possibly forever. Unlike some other viruses these antibodies do not provide protection against further HCV infection.
The chronic phase
The 70% to 85% of individuals who do not achieve spontaneous viral clearance are considered to be in the chronic phase of hepatitis C after six months of infection. This is confirmed when over a six month period HCV RNA viral presence is detectable on at least two occasions
A diagnosis of chronic hepatitis C at this stage means that the time has now passed when spontaneous viral clearance is likely.
Is spontaneous clearance possible in the chronic phase?
Some people do spontaneously clear HCV even after they have had it for many years but it appears to happen very infrequently. There has been no proper systematic study so the reasons for it remain unclear.
I agree with Hector. You were either infected with Hep C and cleared it and now have the antibodies, or you were infected with Hep C and developed a chronic Hep C infection. If you test positive for antibodies, but negative (or undetected) for viral load, then you cleared the infection but will always test positive for the antibodies. If you test positive for antibodies and test positive (or detected) for viral load, then you have a chronic Hep C infection. Active and inactive is sort of misleading and unclear terminology, so I would definitely question any doctor or nurse who uses that terminology with regard to Hep C. As Hector said, it's essential to know whether you test detected or undetected for Hep C viral load as this will answer your question. You need to know the answer to the question so that if, in fact, you have a chronic Hep C infection you can find out more about the health of your liver and treatment options.
Keep us posted.
The previous comments are really good. One thing I would add concerns the word "cure". There is no cure at this time and nothing in the near future looks to be the answer either.
Remission is a wonderful place to be and is the most to be achieved now. Once you have one drop of HCV in your blood, you have Hepatitis C and always will. People have been in remission for years and have it flare up (become active) and have to go through tx again, sometimes even dying from Hepatitis C.
The important thing to do is to go through bloodwork and biopsies periodically as your doctor advises.
The CDC released a new order of testing, which to do first, etc. It's on their website, probably last month, May.
"There is no cure at this time and nothing in the near future looks to be the answer either.
Remission is a wonderful place to be and is the most to be achieved now. Once you have one drop of HCV in your blood, you have Hepatitis C and always will. People have been in remission for years and have it flare up (become active) and have to go through tx again, sometimes even dying from Hepatitis C."
Say what??? Please provide links for this nonsense.
The only people that tested postitive and virus was detected again after achieving SVR previously from treatment are those that reexposed themselves to blood and were reinfected with a new case of the virus.
Can-do-man, you are too kind. Say what?? You crack me up! :))
May 21, 2007 -- A new report shows that patients with hepatitis C infection can not only be successfully treated by the best available drug therapies, but they also can be cured.
Up to seven years after treatment, 99% of close to 1,000 successfully treated patients showed no evidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus, which is transmitted from contact with infected blood. HCV infection is the leading cause of cirrhosis,liver cancer, and liver transplants in the United States. Roughly 4 million Americans are infected, but only about a quarter of them know they have the virus, hepatitis treatment expert John Vierling, MD, tells WebMD.
“We have to start identifying infected people earlier so they can be treated earlier,” he says. “It is true that about half of patients can be cured with the treatments available now.”
Well, I disagree with you on that, because here is Canada, we just got the new drug for the Geno type 1A and 1B last March 2012. They gave the success rate of 80% to 100%. It has cure the virus of 4 people that I know of. 1A and 1B are the hardest geno type to cure and it helped them. They have had great success with geno type 2's as well, because it is a little easier to cure. And yes some people have a very tough time and don't get the cure, it is because usually their livers are more damage and it can't handle the drugs.
Well, I disagree with you on that, because here is Canada, we just got the new drug for the Geno type 1A and 1B last March 2012. --------------------------------------
Possibly your above statement was to the statement HPG copied and pasted from another member at the beginning of his post ??
HPG can certainly respond back to you ,however being from Canada ,I thought I would chime in and correct a couple of things you mentioned.
You say " I disagree on that".
If you are refering to the comment made by HPG that "hep C is curable" then he is correct. Hep C has been curable for many years and in the last two years the therapys have greatly improved with apprx 70 -80 % success rate (depending on variable factors,and yes amount of liver damage(fibrosis)is one of those variables.
These rates are based on doing a triple therapy for geno type 1 and are approx the same for geno type 2 & 3 ,however only a combination drug therapy is used(INF/ riba)
You mention "the new drug" was aprroved in Mar 2012 in Canada,when in fact both "protese Inhibitors" (Incivek & Victrelis) were approved by Health Canada in Aug 2011 and it looks very positive that further therapies may be avail. in Canada(as in the States and elsewhere) within the relatively near future,however no specific date is known .
I was geno 1a, I have been SVR since Aug 2012, treated from 9/2011 to 2/2012. Just saw my Hepatologist this week and he said the doctors and scientists are calling HCV cured.
He also said that due to studies and trials, in people who have cirrhosis, the scarred part of their liver is healing.
That was really good news for me.
Yes, I am cured also...if we have no viral load, 6 months after we have treated, it will stay that way. The confusion/debate on this, may have to do with one study that I heard about, (conducted in France, I believe) ..where they disected livers and found a bit of virus (in people who were SVR) but the virus was undetected in their blood, etc. I dont have the link, it was something my own Tx Doctor mentioned~
I have a friend who has has had Hep C for 30 yrs. About 6 yrs ago her viral load was at 13 million, but a couple years ago she was discluded from a Clinical Trial for having too low of a viral load, it was 400! So they have been testing her every 6 months since then. One time it was actually as low as 40, other times it has risen to 1000, then she tests again and it will be 400 again. Her Hepatologist (UCSF) thinks she may be one of the extremely rare cases of a person who is clearing on her own.
But meanwhile, she is still Detected, and her AST and ALT are still high. She is planning on Treating when the Interferon free regimen has been approved.
I noticed, in my case, after I went Undetected, 4 weeks into my Treatment, that my AST and ALT went down to normal, for the first time in over 20 yrs :)
EOT in Sept, SVR in March (checked again in May). My study treatment doctor said I would have to be re-infected from a new source to ever have HCV again....no chance of relapse. They do call it a cure, not a remission.
I agree with the above statement about being extremely rare that you had a spontaneous clearance of "chronic" HCV. My viral load when first tested for hep C was 470 (extremely low). When my GP sent me to my TX doc, he actually tested again to see if I was clearing the virus but he very professionally assured me that this was not likely unless it was an acute infection. Knowing that the only possible exposure that I had to the virus was approx. 33-35 years ago I certainly didn't bank on it. Sure enough the VL was 910 when he tested (in less than a month from the original 470). Luckily I have a very good specialist that recommended to treat right away due to the low VL and chances for success.
My family dr told me that only one of my liver enzymes were slightly elevated, by only 5 points. .the liver clinic wanted to put me on a treatment that would make me sick throughout. .he said that it wouldn't make sense to put me on something that would make me sick if I wasn't already and that some people have it but never really get sick..is this true or is he mistaken?
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