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How long must an hepatitic C (HCV) viral load be undetectable before someone is cured?

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Doctors like to see six months of continued undetectable viral load after treatment to say a patient's virus is in remission -- not "cured."

After treatment, people with HCV have a "sustained virologic response" or SVR. That is defined as undetectable viral load by PCR to under 50 IU/mL for 24 weeks after treatment is completed. If that is the case, that is an SVR. SVR means it's 98% certain you are cured. However, there are very rare cases where people relapse if you check their viral load a year or two out. That said, this doesn't mean you can't get hepatitis C again if you engage in high-risk behaviors.

SOURCES: Frank Anania, MD, associate professor of medicine; director, hepatology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta. Brian L. Pearlman, MD, medical director, center for hepatitis C, Atlanta Medical Center, Atlanta; associate professor, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta.

Reviewed by William Blahd on July 24, 2016

SOURCES: Frank Anania, MD, associate professor of medicine; director, hepatology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta. Brian L. Pearlman, MD, medical director, center for hepatitis C, Atlanta Medical Center, Atlanta; associate professor, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta.

Reviewed by William Blahd on July 24, 2016

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How does viral load respond differently to different hepatitis C (HCV) treatments?

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