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Insight 14: Believe in your treatment success

(Treatment week 12 of 12)

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Take an active role in your journey to cure

HepCure is an innovative app for patients with Hepatitis C that supports you from treatment start to finish. Learn more about your condition, track your treatment, and connect with your care team. Hep C is a curable condition, and with HepCure, you can reach the finish line

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I am in my final week of treatment, which is a fantastic achievement. It is important to remember that the safety and effectiveness of Viekirax and Exviera which I am taking was tested in more than 2300 people with chronic hepatitis C in six large international clinical trials. Overall, 90% to 100% of study participants with HCV genotype 1 were cured using Viekirax plus Exviera, with or without ribavirin, for 12 or 24 weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artwork by David Rowlands, #hepCtreat, 2016

Results of tests

It is important to consider speaking with your healthcare team about what the different blood tests and results may mean to you. By having a better understanding, I feel you are able to ask questions more confidently, able to focus better and react positively.

 

Through my treatment the levels of the hepatitis C virus in my blood (viral load) have been monitored. In week 4 I had a rapid viral response. This is encouraging as people who still have a undetectable HCV viral load 12 weeks after finishing treatment (known as ‘SVR12’), are considered cured.

 

•Rapid Viral Response: Viral clearance at week 4 of treatment. This means your chances of treatment success are very high.

 

•Early Viral Response: Viral clearance or significant drop at week 12 of treatment

 

•Non-Response: No significant drop in viral load at 12 weeks of treatment. This means the treatment is unlikely to work.

 

 

Missing doses

It is important to take your treatment exactly as it is prescribed. Missing doses of treatment can reduce the chance of achieving viral response by week 12 by 19%

 

Sometimes people start to believe they might not need their treatment after all as they don’t feel any different. Some people feel better and think they don’t need treatment anymore. But often people do not understand what the treatment is doing to them, so it is important to have as much knowledge about your treatment as possible. With this knowledge you are then able to make informed decisions.

 

 

Trusting I am truly cured

More than 9 out of 10 people will be cured using the current treatments, It is thrilling to be told that hepatitis C is no longer detectable in your blood. However, as much as we yearn for those words, sometimes it takes a long time to believe that hepatitis C is gone forever.

 

 

Finishing treatment

I feel is important that when you are finishing treatment you are aware that it may take a few weeks for your body to adjust. While some people will get their health back on track quicker, others may take longer. Everyone is different and setting your own pace is important. I have found having someone to speak with who I can trust has enabled me to share my experiences and at the same time has helped me move forward at this important junction of my life.

 

 

Follow-up

It is important to keep in touch with your healthcare team after your treatment is finished between weeks 13 & 24. 12 or more weeks after completing treatment, are deemed to have achieved an SVR." So, do we just get a viral load at 12 weeks following treatment and stop there?

 

You may want a 24 week post-treatment viral load for psychological value. It takes convincing to believe that we are really cured. It all comes down to a matter of trust. Do you really believe you are cured? I hope so, because for me living with the fear that hepatitis C might come back is only marginally better than actually having the virus.

 

 

After treatment

You will continue to have antibodies in your blood, showing that you have been exposed to the virus in the past. This does not mean you have active hepatitis C, but also does not mean you are immune from catching it again.

 

 

If you have done hepatitis C treatment and it failed, does that mean you did not have success?    

Not at all, in fact studies show that you gained benefits from treatment you otherwise would not have received if you had not done treatment at all.

 

It all comes down to reducing the amount of inflammation and damage to the liver, any improvement is better than where you were, and not only does that give you an edge to be a better candidate for future treatments, it gives you more quality time.

View my health & well-being tracker Picture1 NOhep-Next-Greatest-Achievement-New-Normal-1