Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C

  • Hepatitis is any kind of inflammation (a reaction which can include swelling and pain) of the liver.
  • Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus.
  • The hepatitis C virus is spread primarily by direct contact with the blood (or body fluids containing blood) of an infected person. For example
    • Have injected street drugs or shared drug injection equipment, even just once.
    • Have received a blood transfusion, blood products, or an organ transplant
    • Have had many sexual partners, especially if they did not use condoms.
    • Are health care workers (like doctors or nurses) who may be exposed to blood or needles.
    • Are babies born to mothers who have hepatitis C.
    • Have been on kidney dialysis.
  • The hepatitis C virus is NOT spread by casual contact such as hugging, sneezing, coughing, or sharing food and drinks.
  • When first infected with hepatitis C, a person may have no symptoms at all
  • Years later, cirrhosis may occur in some who are infected, when scar tissue replaces healthy liver cells.
  • Hepatitis C is diagnosed with blood tests.
  • There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
  • The best way to prevent hepatitis C infection is to avoid contact with the blood of infected people.
    • If you shoot drugs, never share works with anyone. Wash your hands before and after injecting drugs. Don’t share cocaine or snorting straws, since these can get blood on them too. Find out about treatment programs that can help you stop using drugs.
    • Use a latex condom every time you have sex.
    • Only get tattoos or body piercings from places using sterile equipment.
    • Health care workers and people who clean up in hospitals or other places where needles or sharps are found should follow standard (universal) precautions with every
    • Never share razors or toothbrushes.
  • If you have hepatitis C, don’t donate blood, sperm, or organs.
  • Hepatitis C infection can be treated with special drugs that fight viruses

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