I am infected with HCV, if I do not undergo antiviral treatment (due to the cost and side effects), is it possible for me to maintain normal liver function?
Sometimes, people infected with HCV choose not to or cannot undergo treatment to eradicate the virus because of a number of reasons (e.g. price of treatment, side effects, condition of the liver, overall health condition, recurring infection, etc.)  When not using antiviral treatment, patients should aim at protecting their liver cells from damage and preserving liver function. 
For hepatitis C patients, maintaining normal liver function can greatly reduce the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer. The liver can regenerate most of its own cells when they become damaged. However, if the injury is severe or long lasting, regeneration is incomplete, and the liver creates scar tissue. Scarring of the liver or fibrosis, may lead to cirrhosis.  And cirrhosis is the main cause for primary liver cancer. 
People infected with hepatitis virus may find it more difficult to maintain normal liver function than those who do not have the virus. However, there is little correlation between the severity of liver damage and HCV viral load. A high viral load does not indicate serious liver damage, similarly, a low viral count does not equal little liver injury.  Hence, maintaining normal liver function is possible even without eradication of the virus. In fact, this has already been proven in scientific research. 
People with HCV infection who are unable to undergo virus eradication treatment should focus on adopting lifestyle changes to reduce workload on the liver, avoiding harmful substances to the liver and enhancing immune function to fend off liver damage from the virus.
For more tips please read: How can I reduce workload on the liver and increase immune function of the liver?
- Living with Chronic Hepatitis C. (2015, January 27). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis/learnmore.htm
- Ehrlich, S. (2013, August 16). Viral hepatitis. Retrieved from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/viral-hepatitis
- Cirrhosis. (2014, March). Retrieved from http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/liver-disease/cirrhosis/Pages/facts.aspx
- Schuppan, D., & Afdhal, N. H. (2008). Liver Cirrhosis. Lancet, 371(9615), 838–851. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60383-9
- SAMHSA (US). (2011). Addressing Viral Hepatitis in People With Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92030/
- * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.