Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide

 

After treatment

Key points

  • A person is cured of hepatitis C if they have an undetectable viral load 12 weeks after the end of treatment. This is also called sustained virological response (SVR or SVR12).
  • If a person has cirrhosis, they need to have their liver monitored for liver cancer every six months using an ultrasound.
  • It is possible to get re-infected if a person is exposed to the hepatitis C virus again. Education about prevention and harm reduction is important.
  • If a person is not cured of hepatitis C after treatment, they should speak with their healthcare provider about re-treatment options.

Treatment is successful if a person still has an undetectable hepatitis C viral load twelve weeks after treatment ends; this is called sustained virological response (SVR or SVR12). With SVR, the person has cleared the virus, but may continue to feel symptoms of liver injury. For some people who are cured of hepatitis C, their liver will begin to heal itself. Depending on the health of the liver, the healthcare provider may want to continue monitoring a person’s liver for any signals of liver injury If a person has cirrhosis they need to have their liver checked using an ultrasound every six months to one year for liver cancer.

People do not develop immunity to hepatitis C after being cured of the virus and it is possible to get re-infected. Taking steps to stay safe will help people continue to live well once they have finished hepatitis C treatment. To learn more about preventing hepatitis C, check out Prevention & Harm Reduction.

In the rare circumstances where treatment did not cure a person, re-treatment may be an option. Another treatment combination may be able to cure the person of hepatitis C. Each provincial and territorial treatment coverage program may have a specific process for covering the cost of re-treatment. A healthcare provider can provide more information about the process.

Resources for service providers

Resources for clients

Revised 2018.