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Is spontaneous clearance of Hep C a permanent thing?

I recently was told that I was exposed to Hep C because I tested positive for the antibodies. It looks like my body could have cleared it on it own, but I will be getting a retest in 6 months to make sure. I am nervous and scared. It’s uncertain as to when the initial infection happened, but it may have been as far back as 2013 for me, because someone pointed out to me that I looked really yellow at one point then. I was dealing with skin rashes that year (and still continue to deal with it til this day). No one even thought it was a hep C related issue, even though the past four years I had slightly elevated AST levels in my physicals. One doctor assumed it could have been related to my eczema issues because I was using a lot of steroid creams. So now I got told about a month ago my hep C news – antibodies, no detectable viral load. Did my body really kill off the hep C virus a few years back? Can it return?

Community Answers
  • Susan Simon moderator
    2 years ago

    klasting, Kelly gave you an excellent answer. It is a good idea to repeat the viral load test, but is unlikely that if you were undetected when tested, it will be detected now. It will not come back. But please be aware that the antibodies for hepatitis C are not protective like they are for measles or mumps. A person can acquire hepatitis C again if they engage in risky behaviors. I am happy for you that you have no viral load. (Sue, Community Moderator)

  • Kelly McNamara moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi KLasting. As this articles ( says:

    Most people who acquire hepatitis C (HCV) progress through typical phases, starting with acute illness and progressing to chronic disease. About 20% of people infected with HCV will spontaneously clear the virus after the acute phase, which is the six months after exposure.. The remaining cases of acute illness will progress to chronic HCV.

    We definitely recommend you talking it all through with your healthcare team, if you haven’t already! Keep us updated if you can! – Kelly, Team Member

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