Goals of HCV treatment
There are two goals of HCV treatment. One is to cure HCV and the other is to improve liver health.
Goal 1: curing HCV
The first goal of treatment is to clear HCV. This is called a cure.
A cure is defined as having an undetectable HCV viral load during 12 weeks after the last dose (SVR-12). SVR stands for sustained viral (or virologic) response.
Up to 99% of people who have an SVR-12 stay HCV-free. This is regardless of HIV status.
Although HCV can sometimes return after treatment is finished, this is usually within four weeks.
However, being cured does not protect you against HCV reinfection.
Currently in the UK, getting a second course of DAAs is either very limited or not available after relapse or reinfection.
Goal 2: improving liver health
The second goal of HCV treatment is to improve liver health.
This occurs from reducing liver inflammation. As well as preventing further damage, fibrosis can sometimes be partially reversed. These improvements usually happen in people who are cured.
Being cured reduces the risk of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure in both HIV negative and HIV positive people.
In HIV positive people, a cure lowers the risk of death from liver-related and HIV-related causes, even with cirrhosis.
HCV treatment might also reduce liver-related side effects from ART.
Last updated: 17 August 2017.