Chronic Hepatitis C can be eradicated.
If you are considering getting rid of this virus and preventing progression to liver cirrhosis, please talk to your GP and obtain a referral to a treatment centre. In Gippsland, these are located at the Viral Hepatitis Clinics at Latrobe Regional Hospital and Bairnsdale Hospital. To make the most of your appointment, it would be very helpful ask your GP to test for the Hep C Genotype and Hep C Viral load prior to your visit.
Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus. Its mode of transmission is from bloodstream to bloodstream. If your screening test if positive, it just means that you’ve been exposed to the virus in the past. 1 in 5 people will clear the virus on their own.
Recent advances in medical treatment has improved the success of treatment and also reduced the time required. Treament duration ranges from 6-11 months. Success rates are dependent upon various factors including the strain (Genotype) of the virus and level of liver scarring (Fibrosis). Liver scarring from chronic Hepatitis C is a slow process that takes many years. The liver is a regenerative organ and once the virus is gone, the scarring process begins to reverse. Alcohol is the main co-contributor influencing quicker progression to liver cirrhosis and liver failure.
The amount of liver scarring you have currently can be determined through various ways. Fibroscan is a non-invasive way of estimating liver fibrosis. It is similar to an ultrasound.
There are many societies and support networks in Victoria including Hepatitis Victoria. They provide great support and information regarding treatment side effects as well as first hand experiences from people who have treated and cleared their virus.