PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

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

ANSWER

We often talk about viral load numbers, but we really look at this in terms of logarithms. A "1 log" change is a 10-fold difference. Significant changes in viral load are a 2-log difference or a 100-fold change. This can be deceptive. If you have a viral load of 800,000 and it drops to 400,000, that seems like a big drop, but it's only changed by a factor of two. A change from 800,000 to 8,000 would be significant. This is important when doctors look at response to treatment. Twelve weeks after starting treatment, doctors see if a person's viral load has dropped 2 logs or more from the baseline. If it has not, the treatment has a low chance of success.

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

NEXT QUESTION:

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

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.