J Hepatol 2016 10;65(1 Suppl):S109-S119
Center for Liver Diseases, Department of Medicine, Inova Fairfax Hospital, USA.
Hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) affects approximately 170-200 million individuals globally. HCV is one of the primary causes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cirrhosis and has been identified as the leading indication for liver transplantation in most Western countries. Because HCV is a systemic disease with hepatic, extrahepatic, economic and patient reported consequences, it is important for healthcare practitioners to understand the comprehensive and multi-faceted picture of this disease. In this context, it is important to fully appreciate the impact of HCV on the individual patient and the society. With the recent advent of the new generation of direct antiviral agents, the long standing goal of eradicating HCV in most infected patients has been accomplished. Therefore, now more than ever, it is critical to assess the total benefits of sustained virological response in a comprehensive manner. This should not be limited to the clinical benefits of HCV cure, but also to account for the improvement of patient reported health and economic outcomes of HCV cure. It is only through this comprehensive approach to HCV and its treatment that we will understand the full impact of this disease and the tremendous gains that have been achieved with the new antiviral regimens.