Why Cure Hep C
Curing your hep C clears the virus from your body. It reduces liver inflammation and can help reverse fibrosis and even cirrhosis.
Live free from the worry of hep C knowing that you no longer have hep C can help you feel better about yourself. For example, you may no longer feel worried about passing hep C to other people. There has been no better time to think about hep C treatment.
Find out more about the benefits of clearing hep C call the Hepatitis Infoline.
Grace talks about her experience of being cured of hepatitis C with new, highly effective treatments. Theres never been a better time to be cured of hep C.
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.
What About Sex And Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C can be spread through sexual intercourse, but the risk is considered to be low. It is extremely rare among monogamous couples, meaning couples who only have sex with one another. The risk increases if you:
- Have multiple sex partners
- Have a sexually transmitted disease
- Are infected with HIV
There is no evidence that Hepatitis C is spread by oral sex.
To reduce the chance of getting or giving Hepatitis C through sexual contact, follow these guidelines:
- Use latex condoms every time you have sex, particularly if you have:
- More than one partner
- Rough sex that might make one of you bleed
- Sex during your or your partners menstrual period
- Sex when you or your partner has an open sore on either of your genitals
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Why Hasn’t New England Made More Gains In Hepatitis C Treatment
Tracking by the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School and National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable shows that Medicaid restrictions for hepatitis C treatment remain across much of the country today.
Seventy-three percent of states currently require prior authorization before Medicaid beneficiaries can access treatment, and 36% still put restrictions in place for those actively using drugs, despite drug users being at disproportionate risk for contracting the virus, according to the 2022 State of Hep C Report.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has previously told states that some of those restrictions violate federal law, and yet they persist. CMS has not released any updated guidance for states since 2015.
Dr. Arthur Kim, director of the Viral Hepatitis Clinic in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, said populations that acquire and live with hepatitis C are more likely to be on Medicaid than private insurance, making Medicaid a good barometer of how the country as a whole is making progress, or not, against the virus.
Treatment roadblocks in state Medicaid programs pose extremely large barriers to eliminating hepatitis C completely, experts say, because the lion’s share of those infected have insurance through them.
All of New England has since eliminated Medicaid restrictions for substance users.
Choosing The Right Treatment
Treatments for hepatitis C continuously evolve in response to new research and improvements in medical technology. Today, people have access to numerous medicines that can cure the infection quickly and safely.
The number of available treatments can seem overwhelming to people. However, with the help of a doctor, a person can narrow down the treatment options best suited to their needs.
A doctor will consider several factors before prescribing treatment. These include:
- the viral load, or amount of virus in the body
- the extent of liver damage, such as scarring, or cirrhosis
- a persons response to any previous hepatitis C treatments
- the presence of other health conditions
- the genotype of the hepatitis C virus
Hepatitis C has six distinct genotypes. A genotype refers to the combination of genes in an organism, including viruses. Identifying the genotype of the hepatitis C virus is a crucial first step in the treatment process.
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How Can I Prevent Getting Hepatitis C
There is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C, but there is research being done to develop one. Currently, vaccines are only available for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.
Remember that Hepatitis C is transmitted or spread when the blood from a Hepatitis C-infected person enters the bloodstream of someone who is not infected. If you dont have Hepatitis C, you can reduce your risk of becoming infected by doing the following:
- If youre injecting drugs, try to get into a treatment program. If you continue to use drugs, dont share needles or other equipment with anyone else. Many cities have needle exchange programs that provide free, sterile needles.
- Make sure all equipment has been sterilized if youre getting body piercings or a tattoo.
- If youre a healthcare worker follow your institutions safety precautions. For example, wear protective clothing and gloves and dispose of contaminated sharp objects properly.
- If you have more than one sex partner or are a man having sex with other men, use condoms for intercourse.
Watch The Stigma of HCV
Prevention Is The Best Medicine
Even though hepatitis C rarely spreads within a household, if you or a family member have the disease, its wise to take precautions to prevent its spread especially if anyone in your home is immune compromised, or has cuts or open sores that increase the risk of infection.
In general, use these common sense preventive tips:
- Unless you are in a long-term, monogamous relationship, practice safe sex.
- Clean up spilled or dried blood with a bleach-based cleaning solution and wear rubber gloves.
- Do not share razors.
- Do not share toothbrushes. Though hepatitis C is not transmitted through saliva, there might be blood on the toothbrush, Reau says.
Note that hepatitis C is not transmitted by sharing eating utensils, hugging, kissing, coughing or sneezing.
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Hepatitis C And Injecting Drugs
If you inject drugs, avoid sharing needles, syringes or other equipment such as tourniquets, spoons, swabs or water.
Where possible, always use sterile needles and syringes. These are available free of charge from needle and syringe programs and some pharmacists. To find out where you can obtain free needles, syringes and other injecting equipment, contact DirectLine
Try to wash your hands before and after injecting. If you cant do this, use hand sanitiser or alcohol swabs from a needle and syringe program service.
Sharing Toothbrushes Scissors And Razors
Theres a potential risk that hepatitis C may be passed on through sharing items such as toothbrushes, razors and scissors, as they can become contaminated with infected blood.
Equipment used by hairdressers, such as scissors and clippers, can pose a risk if it has been contaminated with infected blood and not been sterilised or cleaned between customers. However, most salons operate to high standards, so this risk is low.
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How Long Can Hepatitis Virus Stay In A Patients Body Without Symptoms
After the penetration of a viral infection into the human body, it should take a little time before it begins to multiply. At this time, the patient will not experience any discomfort or other symptoms inherent in group C hepatitis. Even a laboratory blood test will not be able to detect the presence of the virus.
Most patients learn that they are carriers of the hepatitis virus during a comprehensive examination conducted before a planned surgical intervention.
Vaccination And Other Prevention Measures
Vaccination is a safe and effective way of preventing the spread of hepatitis B. Since 1985, the hepatitis B vaccine has been part of the national immunisation schedule. In 1988, New Zealand was one of the first countries to introduce universal infant hepatitis B immunisation.The vaccine is given to babies at age six weeks, three months, and five months. Babies born to mothers with hepatitis B receive an extra dose of the vaccine at birth as well as a dose of hepatitis B-specific immune globulin.In children and adolescents who did not receive the hepatitis B vaccine in the first year of life, the full three-dose course is recommended.Hepatitis B immunisation is recommended and publicly funded for all infants and children up to their 18th birthday, household and sexual contacts of people with acute or chronic hepatitis B, and certain other high-risk populations. Measures that can help prevent the spread of the hepatitis B virus include:
- Teaching children not to touch the blood or wounds of others
- Covering cuts, scratches, and grazes
- Not sharing personal items such as razors and toothbrushes
- Never sharing needles or syringes if you use intravenous drugs
- Practising safe sex, including the use of condoms
- Seek assurance that body piercing and tattooing needles and equipment are sterile.
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After Treatment Begins When Is A Patient Cured
For the pivotal trials leading to the approval of the current hepatitis C antiviral drugs, the researchers defined treatment success as an undetectable RNA level for the virus 12 weeks after completing the therapy, otherwise known as sustained virologic response 12.
Relapses beyond SVR 12 are extremely rare. In a large study evaluating late relapse, hepatitis C RNA was detected in just 12 of 3004 patients with SVR12 between weeks 12 and 24. Phylogenetic sequencing showed 7 to be new infections.
Still, providers should test for the virus at 24 to 48 weeks after the end of treatment , Terrault says. When no hepatitis C RNA is detectable at SVR48, providers can confidently tell patients they are cured and do not need any further testing for hepatitis C. The exception to this, she says, is if a patient is determined to be at risk for reinfection.
How Can You Get Hepatitis C
Group C hepatitis is transmitted exclusively by the parenteral route. During infection, a viral infection enters the wound of a person, which is contained in the biological material of a patient with hepatitis.
Unlike group B hepatitis, this form of the disease is rarely transmitted during unprotected sexual contact. According to available statistics, the chance of contracting hepatitis C among sexual partners who do not use condoms is approximately 5% over 10 years of the total number of patients.
How Is The Hepatitis C Virus Transmitted
The following actions transmit the hepatitis C virus:
What You Need To Know About Sustained Virologic Response
If youve been researching hepatitis C, you may have heard about sustained virologic response . A virologic response refers to the presence of the hepatitis C virus being detected in the blood. If the virus cannot be detected in the blood after at least 12 weeks post-treatment, then a sustained virologic response has been achieved.
Having an SVR is essentially what it means to be cured of hepatitis C! Approximately 99% of people who experience a sustained virologic response live without the virus. Hepatitis C only returns in fewer than one percent of patients who achieve SVR. And, in many cases, that virus is actually the result of a new infection .
Once you achieve SVR you are no longer contagious, additional liver damage ceases, and liver function may improve. Not only does achieving SVR mean the virus is gone, but it also stops the progression of liver disease and other risks and complications associated with liver damage.
If you have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, help is available! Take action with your doctor today.
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Is There A Way To Prevent Hepatitis C
Although currently theres no vaccine to protect people from contracting hepatitis C, there are vaccines for other hepatitis viruses, including hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
If you receive a hepatitis C diagnosis, your healthcare provider may advise you to get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
The vaccinations are recommended because these hepatitis viruses can lead to additional health and liver complications, especially in those with preexisting liver disease.
Since you cant prevent hepatitis C through a vaccine, the best prevention is to avoid exposure. Hepatitis C is a bloodborne pathogen, so you can limit your chances of exposure through these healthy lifestyle practices:
- Avoid sharing needles, razor blades, or nail clippers.
- Use proper safety precautions if youll be exposed to bodily fluids, such as when performing first aid.
- Hepatitis C isnt usually transmitted through sexual contact, but its possible. Limit your exposure by practicing sex with a condom or other barrier method. Its also important to openly communicate with sexual partners and to get tested if you suspect youve been exposed to the hepatitis C virus.
Because hepatitis C is transmitted through blood, its possible to contract it through a blood transfusion.
However, since the early 1990s, blood product screening tests have been standard protocol for minimizing the risk of this type of transmission.
Subsequent testing is based on risk. Talk to your doctor about your needs.
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 .
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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.
Are There Supplements That Are Bad For My Liver
Taking too many vitamin and mineral supplements may do more harm than good to a damaged liver.
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What Are The Types Of Hepatitis B
There are two types of hepatitis B infection: acute and chronic.
An acute infection happens at the beginning, when you first get infected with hepatitis B. Many people are able to clear it from their bodies and recover. In fact, this is true of about 4 in 5 adults who are infected.
If you are not able to clear the infection within six months or longer, you have chronic hepatitis B. It is chronic hepatitis B that leads to inflammation and the serious, and possibly fatal, illnesses of cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. Treatment can slow disease progress, reduce the chance of liver cancer and increase your chances of surviving.
What Should A Patient Do If He Suspects That He Has The Hepatitis Virus
In the event that a person suspects he has hepatitis, he needs to contact a medical institution, an infectious disease specialist. A narrow-profile specialist will conduct a comprehensive examination and, after confirming the diagnosis, will prescribe a constructive treatment.
Currently, there are special hepatological centers, which employ highly qualified specialists who can treat any form of hepatitis. Many patients receive treatment in such medical institutions under regional programs or special quotas, which significantly reduces their overall costs.
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Is Svr Considered A Cure
The oral DAA treatments are capable of causing a sustained virologic response , which means that the hepatitis C virus is not detected in the blood 12 weeks or more after completing treatment. Your doctor will monitor your virologic response with blood tests. Most people are considered cured when the virus is no longer present after 12 weeks.
Two or more oral antiviral drugs are typically used together to help prevent resistance in patients treated for HCV. Sometimes these treatments still need to be used with older medications such as ribavirin if you have advanced liver disease. Your chances for a cure may be better if you do not have advanced liver disease and have never received HCV treatment before.
Once you reach an SVR, it is highly unlikely for the hepatitis C virus to be detected again unless you are reinfected. Studies have shown this type of relapse occurs in less than 1% of patients who complete treatment. Also, when the virus is cleared from your blood you can no longer transmit the virus to others. However, you should still take precautions to help prevent catching and spreading HCV.
Any liver damage you have won’t be reverse after you reach SVR, but further damage may be minimized with treatment.