Module 6: Treatment options - section 1

In this document:

Treatment goals

Activity: Group work and discussion
Section Time: Approximately 15 minutes

This short introductory activity section enables participants to establish the primary and secondary goals of HCV treatment and explore how these are measured.

Introduce this section by showing Slide 6.2 (Group work) and asking participants, in the large group, to answer the questions. Record answers on flip chart:

Use Slide 6.3 (Goals of treatment) to assist clarification

Supporting content:

The goal of HCV therapy is total eradication of the virus— treating to cure. This outcome, a sustained virological response, or SVR, means that a person achieves and maintains undetectable HCV levels for at least six months after completing a course of pegylated interferon and ribavarin treatment, which is the standard of care for hepatitis C. People who achieve an SVR are generally considered to be “cured” of their HCV infection and remain virus free. Although some recent research has found very low levels of hepatitis C in the blood and liver tissue of some sustained virological responders, this small quantity of virus may not have any significant effect on liver health. Individuals who are successfully treated can still be re-infected with HCV.

A secondary goal of HCV treatment is to improve liver health by reducing inflammation, and sometimes, reversing fibrosis. This can happen, although less often, even in people who do not clear the virus. In rare cases, the condition of the liver may worsen after HCV treatment; the reasons for this are unclear.

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