Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Can Chronic Hepatitis C Be Cured

How Do You Test For Hepatitis C

Hepatitis B: Treatment and care for a chronic condition

A simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have the virus. You may also be given an extra test to see if your liver is damaged.

If youve got hepatitis C you should be tested for other STIs. It’s important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have hepatitis C do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on. It can also stop you from getting the infection again.

Theres Been A Demographic Shift In Whos Getting Hep C

Although baby boomers used to account for the bulk of hepatitis C cases , the disease has been rapidly spreading among young adults so much so that in 2020, the CDC reported that younger adults now make up the majority of newly reported chronic hepatitis C infections.

Millennials now account for 36.5 percent of these new infections according to the CDC. Generation X accounts for 23.5 percent of new infections.

People between ages of 20 and 40 are primarily acquiring hepatitis C through injection drug use, says Douglas Dieterich, MD, a professor of medicine with the division of liver diseases at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. And, as he points out, people of those ages are a much larger group than the baby boomers.

The drug use explosion during the past COVID-19 year has increase hepatitis C exponentially, says Dr. Dieterich, who is a member of the American Liver Foundations national medical advisory committee.

Dr. Rizza adds that cocaine users may also spread the infection by sharing straws used for snorting.

If you get blood from the nose on the straw and share it with the next person, you can transmit the virus this way, she says. It takes only a drop of contaminated blood entering the bloodstream to transmit the disease, and the virus can live outside the body for at least four days.

Side Effects Of Treatment

Treatments with direct-acting antivirals have very few side effects. Most people find DAA tablets very easy to take.

You may feel a little sick and have trouble sleeping to begin with, but this should soon settle down.

Your nurse or doctor should be able to suggest things to help ease any discomfort.

You need to complete the full course of treatment to ensure you clear the hepatitis C virus from your body.

If you have any problems with your medicines, speak to your doctor or nurse straight away.

Side effects for each type of treatment can vary from person to person.

For a very small number of people, more severe side effects from hepatitis C treatments may include:

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How Many People Have Hepatitis C

During 2013-2016 it was estimated that about two and half million people were chronically infected with HCV in the United States. The actual number may be as low as 2.0 million or as high as 2.8 million.Globally, hepatitis C is a common blood-borne infection with an estimated 71 million people chronically infected according to the World Health Organization .

Hepatitis C And Health

Hep C

How can health-care personnel avoid exposure to HCV?

Avoiding occupational exposure to blood is the primary way to prevent transmission of bloodborne illnesses among health-care personnel. To promote blood safety in the workplace, health-care personnel should consult infectious-disease control guidance from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and from CDC. Depending on the medical procedure involved, Standard Precautions may include the appropriate use of personal protective equipment .

What is the risk of acquiring hepatitis C after being accidentally exposed to HCV-contaminated blood or body fluids in the workplace?

Although sharps injuries have decreased in recent decades due to improved prevention measures, they continue to occur, placing health-care personnel at risk for several bloodborne pathogens like hepatitis C. A recent analysis of several studies revealed an overall 0.2% risk for infection among those exposed to HCV-antibody-positive blood through needlestick or sharps injuries . Updated guidelines for management and treatment of hepatitis Cexternal icon are available to provide guidance for health-care personnel who become infected via exposure to contaminated blood at the workplace.

Other than needlesticks, do other exposures place health-care personnel at risk for hepatitis C?

Should HCV-infected health-care personnel be restricted in their work?

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Preventing The Spread Of Hepatitis C

There is no vaccine available to prevent a person from being infected with hepatitis C. Recommended behaviours to prevent the spread of the virus include:

  • Always use sterile injecting equipment. This can be accessed from your local needle and syringe program service.
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as toothbrushes, razors, nail files or nail scissors, which can draw blood.
  • If you are involved in body piercing, tattooing, electrolysis or acupuncture, always ensure that any instrument that pierces the skin is either single use or has been cleaned, disinfected and sterilised since it was last used.
  • If you are a healthcare worker, follow standard precautions at all times.
  • Wherever possible, wear single-use gloves if you give someone first aid or clean up blood or body fluids.
  • Although hepatitis C is not generally considered to be a sexually transmissible infection in Australia, you may wish to consider safe sex practices if blood is going to be present, or if your partner has HIV infection. You may wish to further discuss this issue and personal risks with your doctor.

Questions For Your Doctor

When you visit the doctor, you may want to ask questions to get the information you need to manage your hepatitis C. If you can, have a family member or friend take notes. You might ask:

  • What kinds of tests will I need?
  • Are there any medications that might help?
  • What are the side effects of the medications you might prescribe?
  • How do I know when I should call the doctor?
  • How much exercise can I get, and is it all right to have sex?
  • Which drugs should I avoid?
  • What can I do to prevent the disease from getting worse?
  • How can I avoid spreading hepatitis C to others?
  • Are my family members at risk for hepatitis C?
  • Should I be vaccinated against other types of hepatitis?
  • How will you keep tabs on the condition of my liver?
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    Diagnosis Of Hepatitis C

    If you are at risk of hepatitis C infection, or think you may have been exposed to hepatitis C in the past, see your doctor for an assessment of your liver health. This will include blood tests and possibly a non-invasive test for liver damage .

    There are 2 blood tests used to diagnose hepatitis C. Usually these can be done at the same time but sometimes they will be done separately.

    The first test known as a hepatitis C antibody test can tell you whether you have ever been exposed to hepatitis C.

    It may take 2 to 3 months from the time of infection until a blood test can detect antibodies to hepatitis C, so there is a window period during which you cannot tell if you are or have been infected. In this time, take precautions to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

    The second test is called hepatitis C PCR, which will be done if the antibody test is positive. This determines if the virus is still present in your blood or liver or if you have already cleared the infection.

    If you have cleared the virus or had successful treatment to cure it, the PCR test will be negative.

    A liver ultrasound or Fibroscan can also be performed to assess if you have any liver damage.

    If your doctor is inexperienced in diagnosing hepatitis C you can call the LiverLine on for information, and to find a GP who can help you.

    How Muchis Hep C Treatment

    Hepatitis C: The Costly Cure

    Anyone hoping to hear that the medication used to treat HepC is inexpensive isnt going to like what we have to say here. DAA drugs workincredibly well to cure yourself of Hep C very quickly, but they are certainlynot cheap and especially so for people who dont have extended health insurancethat also covers prescription medication.

    As mentioned, Sovaldi is one of the most commonly prescribed of these meds for treating Hep C. Other standard ones are Harvoni, Mavyret, Zepatier, and Technivie. To give you some idea regarding how much is Hep C treatment with these drugs, consider this:

    • A Hepatitis C 12 week treatment with Harvoni can cost nearly $100,000!
    • The same treatment with Technivie can cost $75,000 +
    • Nearly $55,000 for a 12 week treatment with Zepatier
    • Approximately $40,000 for a 12 week treatment with Mavyret

    The reason these meds are so expensive is because of thelarge demand for them and the high costs associated with the manufacturersbeing able to bring them to market.

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    The New Medicines Dont Make You Sick

    Years ago, hepatitis C was treated with interferon injections administered over the course of a year. The cure rate was only about 50 percent, and the side effects could be severe.

    You could almost say the treatment was worse than the disease, says Joseph Galati, MD, the medical director of the center for liver disease and transplantation at Houston Methodist Hospital.

    One of Dr. Galatis patients, Sam Sloan of Richmond, Texas, underwent treatment for hepatitis C in the mid-1990s. Now cured, Sloan describes the side effects as like I had the flu for about a year.”

    Todays antiviral treatments have been a huge success with almost no side effects. Hep C patient Stella Armstrong of Las Vegas says that after taking the medication, “Everything was functioning normally. My lab results went from outrageously high scores to normal scores. It was impressive. Today, she is disease free.

    Accessibility And Hbsag Clearance Rate

    HBsAg clearance occurs spontaneously or via antiviral treatment in CHB patients. The most commonly used drugs are nucleoside analogue and pegylated interferon . NA drugs include entecavir , tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and tenofovir alafenamide fumarate . The 2018 AASLD guidelines recommend Peg-IFN, ETV, or TDF as the preferred initial therapy for adults with immune-active CHB. It also suggests that alanine transaminase levels be tested at least every 6 months for adults with immune-tolerant CHB to monitor for potential transition to immune-active or immune-inactive CHB . The 2017 EASL guideline recommends ETV, TDF and TAF as the preferred monotherapy regimens, and the extension of the duration of Peg-IFN therapy beyond week 48 may be beneficial in selected HBeAg-negative CHB patients . The potential side effects of NAs include lactic acidosis for ETV and nephropathy, osteomalacia, lactic acidosis for TDF. CHB patients should be clinically monitored. The most frequently reported side effects for Peg-IFN are flu-like syndrome, myalgia, fatigue, mood disturbances, weight loss, hair loss and local reactions at the site of injection, and these side effects may be partially managed with dose reduction . Currently, the clearance of HBsAg is based primarily on sequential or combined treatment with NA and Peg-IFN.

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    How Do People Get Hepatitis C

    Hepatitis C virus is found in the blood of people with HCV infection. It enters the body through blood-to-blood contact.

    Until reliable blood tests for HCV were developed , people usually got hepatitis C from blood products and blood transfusions. Now that blood and blood products are tested for HCV, this is no longer the typical means of infection.

    Currently, people usually get hepatitis C by sharing needles for injection drug use. An HCV-infected woman can pass the infection to her baby during birth. It is also possible to get hepatitis C from an infected person through sexual contact, an accidental needlestick with a contaminated needle, or improperly sterilized medical, acupuncture, piercing, or tattooing equipment.

    Hepatitis C And Blood Spills

    Hepatitis C: What I Wish Others Knew

    When cleaning and removing blood spills, use standard infection control precautions at all times:

    • Cover any cuts or wounds with a waterproof dressing.
    • Wear single-use gloves and use paper towel to mop up blood spills.
    • Clean the area with warm water and detergent, then rinse and dry.
    • Place used gloves and paper towels into a plastic bag, then seal and dispose of them in a rubbish bin.
    • Wash your hands in warm, soapy water then dry them thoroughly.
    • Put bloodstained tissues, sanitary towels or dressings in a plastic bag before throwing them away.

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    Durability And Related Factors After Hbsag Clearance

    When patients with HBeAg-positive CHB achieve a satisfactory antiviral treatment endpoint , the clinical recurrence is 2040%, and the virological recurrence can be as high as 8090% after drug withdrawal . Because the safety of drug withdrawal is uncertain, HBsAg clearance is recommended as the ideal treatment endpoint for CHB patients. The accessibility and rate of HBsAg clearance was mentioned above, but the durability of HBsAg clearance after treatment cessation remains controversial.

    HBeAg status should also receive attention in the pursuit of HBsAg clearance. The clearance of HBsAg in most patients is based on HBV DNA suppression and HBeAg seroconversion, but a few patients exhibit different HBsAg response patterns, such as HBsAg clearance without HBeAg seroconversion. Only HBsAg clearance based on HBV DNA suppression and HBeAg seroconversion is safe for drug withdrawal .

    You Can Have It And Not Know It

    What is Hepatitis C?

    Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus . HCV is far more infectious than HIV. Presently, there is no vaccine to prevent HCV infection.

    In 2011, it is estimated that over 220,000 people in Canada were infected with HCV. In 2012, 10,180 new cases of hepatitis C were reported in Canada. It has been estimated that over 40% of people living with chronic hepatitis C don’t even know they are infected.

    About 15 to 25 percent of adults will recover within 6 months of becoming infected . The remaining 75 to 85 percent are unable to clear the virus and will become chronically infected. Chronic hepatitis C is treatable and in some instances can be cured.

    Why is hepatitis C a health concern?

    Many people infected with HCV do not know they have the virus because symptoms can take two to six months to appear and the majority of people will not develop symptoms. During this time, they can spread the infection to others. You may not know you have this infection until damage has already been done to your liver. Potential complications from chronic hepatitis C include cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, liver cancer and premature death.

    Why do I need my liver?

    How is hepatitis C virus spread?

    Organization:

    The most common risk factors for HCV infection include:

    What are the symptoms of hepatitis C?

    How can I find out if I have hepatitis C?

    How can I protect myself and others against HCV?

    What if I have hepatitis C?

    Remember:

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    Hepatitis C Symptoms & Treatment

    FAST FACTS:

    • Hepatitis C is found in infected blood. It is also rarely found in semen and vaginal fluids.

    • Hepatitis C is mainly passed on through using contaminated needles and syringes or sharing other items with infected blood on them. It can also be passed on through unprotected sex, especially when blood is present.

    • You can prevent hepatitis C by never sharing needles and syringes, practising safer sex, and avoiding unlicensed tattoo parlours and acupuncturists.

    • Hepatitis C will often not have any noticeable symptoms, but a simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have hepatitis C.

    • In the early stages, some peoples bodies can clear a hepatitis C infection on their own, others may develop chronic hepatitis C and will need to take antiviral treatment to cure the infection.

    • Without treatment, chronic hepatitis C can lead to permanent liver damage.

    Hepatitis C is part of a group of hepatitis viruses that attack the liver.

    Its mainly passed on through contaminated needles, either from injecting drugs or from needle stick injuries in healthcare settings. It can also be transmitted sexually, especially during anal sex or other types of sex that may involve blood.

    Some groups are more at risk of getting hepatitis C than others, including people who use drugs, people in prisons, men who have sex with men, health workers and people living with HIV.

    How Is Hepatitis C Diagnosed

    Hepatitis C | A Silent But Curable Disease

    Symptoms alone generally dont offer enough information for a doctor to diagnose hepatitis C. Whats more, you might not have symptoms or notice any signs of the condition.

    Thats why its so important to connect with a doctor or other healthcare professional and ask about getting tested if youve been exposed to the hepatitis C virus.

    The also recommend hepatitis C testing for people who have abnormal liver tests, along with those who are:

    A healthcare professional can order a few different tests to help diagnose hepatitis C. These include:

    • Blood tests. They may order a series of blood tests to check for the virus, starting with a hepatitis C antibody test. A PCR test can tell your healthcare professional whether the virus is currently active, and viral load testing can measure the amount of virus in your blood.
    • Genotype test. This test can reveal which hepatitis C genotype you have. This information will help your healthcare professional find an effective treatment approach.
    • Liver function test. If blood test results suggest chronic hepatitis C or your healthcare professional believes you could have liver damage, theyll order a liver function test. This test checks your blood for signs of heightened enzymes from your liver.
    • Liver biopsy.This procedure can also help check for liver damage. A biopsy involves taking a small piece of tissue from your liver and testing it for cell abnormalities.

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