This notice is prompted by conversations with community hepatitis organisations, specialists, doctors and health consumers. This advice comes with the strong endorsement of Associate Professor Simone Strasser, Senior Staff Specialist at the AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Centre at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.
It is absolutely essential for anyone and everyone undergoing HCV DAA or other HCV treatments, to return to their treating GP, nurse or specialist at least twelve weeks after completing treatment to have a final blood test that will determine whether their hepatitis C treatment has been successful. This is important both for people accessing treatment via normal (PBS funded) pathways and for people who have legally imported generic medicines (e.g. independently or through buyers’ clubs).
Whilst HCV DAAs are extremely effective, there is a chance that treatment may not have been curative. This can include people whose HCV is undetectable at treatment completion but PCR positive twelve weeks post-completion. When that happens it is vital that the result is known and that the person and their treating doctor consider other treatment options.
We hear from experts working in the HCV treatment field that in some people there is so much confidence in these new DDAs that some are assuming they will achieve cure and they are not returning for their SVR check. It is wonderful to have medicines available that inspire such confidence, but these treatments are not at the 100% cure level yet.
Please impress upon the people you work with and the people with hep C that you talk to about the importance of the SVR test result at least 12 weeks after treatment has ended.