Hepatitis :: Patients who recover from hepatitis C have lower risk of reinfection

A new study found that individuals who had tested positive for hepatitis C (HCV) but later tested negative for the virus were significantly less likely to become infected again compared to those who had never been infected, even though they had the same exposure risks.

The results of this study appear in the November 2006 issue of Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hepatology.

HCV, a major public health threat affecting over 170 million people worldwide, is primarily acquired through injection drug use (IDU). IDU accounts for over 75 percent of HCV cases and HCV is seen in up to 90 percent of IDUs, with most of these individuals going on to develop chronic infection. Recent advances in effectively treating HCV have led to a “cure,” (meaning no virus is detectable) in many cases, however there is a concern that treatment is not as beneficial to IDUs because they are continually exposed to the virus.