Patients were recruited from an open-access, university-based hepatology clinic over a 24-month period between 2001 and 2003. Patients with chronic were selected for treatment if they were treatment-naive, had clinically well-compensated liver disease with detectable HCV RNA levels present at baseline and genotype determination. Most genotype-1 patients had a liver biopsy performed within the 12 months prior to initiating treatment. Patients were excluded from therapy if there was evidence of decompensated liver disease or other relative or absolute contraindications to treatment. Patients who had evidence of coinfection with hepatitis В or HIV ( is used for treating HIV infection) were not included in this study. All prospective patients were appropriately counseled regarding treatment side effects with pegylated interferon and, the need to avoid pregnancy and the requirement for at least monthly laboratory and clinical evaluations as well as the need to maintain compliance with treatment to optimize therapeutic response. All were ultimately given the freedom to decide on treatment or expectant management. If the patient opted to not receive treatment, the reason for this decision was recorded.