Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide

 

Hepatitis C re-infection

Key points

  • After a person is cured of hepatitis C, either because their body spontaneously clears the virus or because they receive treatment, they can get hepatitis C again (re-infection) if they are exposed to the virus.
  • Providing education and resources for safer drug use and safer sex can help to prevent re-infection.
  • If a person gets hepatitis C again and does not spontaneously clear the virus, they will need to receive treatment to be cured of hepatitis C.

After a person is cured of hepatitis C, either because their body spontaneously clears the virus or because they receive treatment, they can get hepatitis C again (re-infection) if they are exposed to the virus. This is because there is no immunity to hepatitis C.

Re-infection can occur if a person participates in activities that potentially expose them to the hepatitis C virus, such as re-using injection drug use equipment.

Preventing re-infection is an important part of hepatitis C treatment. Providing education and resources for safer drug use and safer sex can help prevent re-infection. For more information, see the Prevention and harm reduction section.

People who have a higher likelihood of re-infection after treatment should receive regular testing for hepatitis C. A healthcare provider may recommend regular testing every three, six or 12 months. This will help identify people in the early stages of re-infection and engage them in care.

If a person does not spontaneously clear the virus after re-infection, they will need to be treated again. Treatment for a re-infection is the same as treatment for an initial infection.

Resources for service providers

Resources for clients

Revised 2020.