Hepatitis C is a liver infection. For some, it’s a short-term illness. For most, it’s long-term (chronic). Most might not know they’re infected. Not everyone has symptoms. But, symptoms can include fever and jaundice. Chronic Hepatitis C can result in problems like cirrhosis, cancer, or even death.
About 75 percent of U.S. adults with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are baby boomers, born between 1945 and 1965. All baby boomers should get tested for HCV. HCV has ALSO been rising among people who inject heroin or misuse prescription opioids and inject them. In the U.S., injecting drugs is the most common way that people get HCV.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all baby boomers should get tested for HCV at least once.
Anyone can get HCV, but high-risk people are those who:
Inject or have injected drugs and share needles or equipment
Were born to a mother with HCV
Had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992
Have hemophilia and received clotting factor before 1987
Are in contact with blood or infected needles at work
Are on kidney dialysis
Are infected with HIV
Have had tattoos or body piercings
Have had more than one sex partner in the last six months or have a history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
How can it be prevented?
There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C, but there are ways to make infection much less likely. Here are a few:
Do not share objects that might contain blood. Household items like razors, toothbrushes, and lancets are included.
Do not inject steroids or drugs. If you are currently using, seek treatment. Visit com. Never share needles.
Use condoms during sex.
Weigh the risks of getting tattoos and piercings. If you decide to get one, make sure the artist or piercer is reputable and uses safe health practices.
Do not donate blood or organs if you are HCV infected.
How can it be treated?
Antiviral medicines have allowed cured patients from HCV infection. Treatment differs by type and stage of liver disease. Treatment ranges from 12 – 24 weeks. There are many medications available to treat chronic HCV. It is important for you to see a health care provider who has an expertise in Hepatitis C virus. They can help you decide which medication is best for you. That will depend on the type of HCV you have, if you have ever gotten treatment before, and how long you have had HCV. Treatment can cure the disease with minimal side effects.
It is important to take care of yourself. Get tested for each type of hepatitis. Get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B virus. Use the treatment locator to find vaccinations, testing, and treatment. Search by resource type to find a low-cost health care provider near you. There are many options including:
Private health care providers
Private health and hospital systems
Division of Public Health (DPH) clinics
Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs)
Delaware HIV Consortium
HIV Community Program at Wilmington Hospital Annex
If you have hepatitis C, be sure to see someone who specializes in that illness.
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