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How possible is it for someone to get sicker if their hepatitis C (HCV) viral load is rising?

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If you have HCV, viral burden in hepatitis C does not necessarily predict the natural history of clinical disease. Therefore, patients need to understand that we use that measurement to help us guide therapy and response to therapy. We use it in conjunction with other types of laboratory data -- liver enzymes, liver biopsies sometimes, and viral genotype. Taken all together, these tests give us a snapshot of what is going on -- but viral load numbers themselves do not predict disease.

Unlike HIV, HCV viral copies do not directly affect a patient's prognosis and how fast disease is progressing in the liver. HIV viral load does have a lot to do with quicker progression to AIDS, but HCV viral load does not tell you how fast hepatitis is progressing.

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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What does it mean if there is a drop in hepatitis C viral load?

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