Great News! Reaching SVR after Hep C Treatment

Great news! It sure is great news when you get the all-clear, virus undetectable result at 12 weeks after treatment ends.

Do you need a test to see if treatment worked?

I was recently made aware that a significant number of people never do have that PCR test at 12 weeks post-treatment. As I am aware, and not altogether surprised, it is in a group that has spotty access to care and may have no clear understanding just how to access the testing required. This test is now less important with DAA treatments that cure nearly 100% of people.

My treatment experience

It was a big deal for those of us from the interferon era, and I understand well, having treated with that rat poison myself for 48 weeks. Not bragging, just a reality for some of us who had no other choice other than to wait for something better. I chose nearly 12 years ago to not wait, as there was nothing very exciting on the near horizon we knew about. I was fortunate enough to have access to a phase 2 clinical trial with a new drug, but as these things go, it was double blinded, and I only found out I did not get the placebo two years after I finished treatment. It didn’t matter because long before then I was made aware that I had reached SVR/cure.

Being cured was exciting and clearly great news for me, indeed! Back then, interferon treatments were only 40%-50% effective, but perhaps my study drug did the job, even though it never did make it to market and was available outside of the study. It is so long ago now, and so much has changed in the best of ways as far as treatment efficacy and safety. The safety part refers mostly to the terrible side effects of interferon, but it is also notorious for causing long-lasting problems, as I have written about many times.

We all deserve treatment

Now, looking back, there were notable times in my treatment experience. Firstly, it was finding out that I could be treated, and then finishing that 48 weeks of hell, and then learning that I was through with hep C, which was tested for two years after with the same SVR/cure result. It was gone. How any one of us reacts to news is a personal thing, and I still get a thrill of hearing that someone has been cured. Whether I know them or not, it always lifts me up because it was such a great bit of news I will never forget. Lucky? Maybe. Nowadays, the issues are similar except how much easier and effective treatment is, and with access to care and treatment still needing improvements, even all these years later, we need to continue to advocate as a community, for anyone who is struggling in receiving the care they deserve.

When we see everyone who needs testing and treatment able to receive it, that will truly be great news!

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