Have been lurking on here for about two weeks and wanted to seek some advice or opinions from this great community.
First, let me start at the begining.
I fell ill on 15 Feb 2016. I was working in West Africa at the time and so at first I thought it was something I had eaten. My symptoms came on very strong: Body aches, lethargy, mild fever, anorexia, bloating and lower abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting. Towards the end of that week, Friday the 19th, I was appearing noticeably jaundiced.
As it happened, I was due to wrap up my job there and travel to the US for a conference. I got on the plane on the 19th and promptly went to an ER in NYC and was admitted.
I was discharged on the 24th of Feb with a diagnosis of Acute Hepatitis C and after a few days returned to my home in South America.
Here is a table I put together to show the progression of my hepatic function. As it so happened, I had been tested for HCV on October 30th of 2015, and was negative, and so it is clear than I was exposed to the virus around December / January timeframe. My exposure came from a stupid (and obviously very regrettable) mistake in my sex life during a difficult period (PTSD sufferer). Fortunately, I was not infected with HIV or any other STIs.
Since returning home, I have had some ups and downs with symptoms, fine for a few days, and then headaches, abdominal pain and then feel better (I am currently battling a chest cold which doesn’t help!). I have been eating very cleanly and have not had a drop of alcohol (never was much of a drinker anyway).
With my Fibroscan and latest hepatic panel complete, I went to see my infectologist today. After reviewing my latest results, his advice was that I NOT pursue Tx at this time. He said given my results I may be heading for spontaneous clearing, as suggested by a number of factors: 1) The fact that I had such a pronounced and robust immune response 2) That my LTFs are dropping steadily 3) That this was a mono-infection (no HIV) and 4) Mv viral load of 5685 was, all things considered, relatively low. He also added that there are no studies that he was aware of for treating acute HCV mono-infection (noting that there are studies on treating acute HCV co-infection with HIV)
I was ready to enroll in one of the trials or otherwise seek access to generic Harvoni. His advice was to wait, and that the best option would be for me to spontaneously clear the virus. As he put it, don’t pull out the big guns (Harvoni) yet, until you need them. Your body is battling this virus on its own and let’s see if in fact reinforcements are needed. On the one hand, I totally agree with him. It would certainly save me money, and also save me having to take a daily pill for a few months that may not agree with my system. On the other hand, I like to deal with things as they come up, and aren’t I letting HCV wreak havoc on my liver (and my emotional state) with every day that passes? I have events coming up in the next few months where I would like to have an alcoholic drink or two.
This is where I would like the advice of the Experts here. I totally trust my doctor and am not going against his advice. He said he was optimistic about me spontaneous clearing, but I guess I am just interested to hear what other think. He wants to see me in a month to check LTF and Viral Load (at which point he said, if things look like they haven’t improved, or not significantly, we can talk about Tx) I guess I am mostly curious.
1. Are there any studies out there on treating acute HCV Gen1 mono-infection with Harvoni?
2. Is there any benefit from spontaneously clearing vs. clearing through treatment? (I understand that if you spontaneously clear Hep A and Hep B, you are essentially immune to future exposure, but that is not the case with HCV re-infection, even the same genotype?)
3. Aside from taking care of myself, eating well and sleeping well etc, is there anything that I can do to increase my chances of spontaneously clearing the virus?
4. ]Any other thoughts etc?
My thanks in advance to you all.