How Is Hepatitis C Treated
The main aim of treatment for hepatitis C is to cure the infection, if possible, thereby stopping the virus damaging your liver. Maviret A medicine called Maviret is used for the treatment of hepatitis C. It aims to clear the hepatitis C virus from your body. This treatment has a cure rate of more than 90% with 8 weeks of treatment regardless of the type or genotype. Before starting Maviret, you will have tests to assess how much scarring present in your liver.
- If there is no severe scarring in your liver, you will be prescribed a course of Maviret tablets .
- Some people may need to take Maviret for longer .
- Maviret tablets can be prescribed by your GP but is only available from some pharmacies. Read more about Maviret tablets .
However, there are some situations where using Maviret tablets is not suitable and/or you should be cared for in a specialist clinic, eg, if:
- you have severe liver disease
- you also have hepatitis B infection
- you are HIV positive
- previous treatment for hepatitis C has failed.
In these circumstances, the specialist will supervise your treatment. After treatment, you may stay under specialist follow-up because for some people there is a risk of developing liver cancer even many years after the virus has been cured.
Complications Of Hepatitis C
If the infection is left untreated for many years, some people with hepatitis C will develop scarring of the liver .
Over time, this can cause the liver to stop working properly.
In severe cases, life-threatening problems, such as liver failure, where the liver loses most or all of its functions, or liver cancer, can eventually develop.
Treating hepatitis C as early as possible can help reduce the risk of these problems happening.
How Do You Treat Hepatitis C
People with acute infection do not always need treatment, because their immune system may clear hepatitis C on its own. If you test positive during the acute stage, your doctor may ask you to come back after a few months to re-test and to see if you need any treatment.
If people develop chronic infection, they will need treatment to help clear the virus. Where available, treatment with drugs called direct-acting antivirals can cure hepatitis in most cases. These are usually taken for 8-12 weeks. Your doctor will also check your liver for any damage.
If youve had hepatitis C in the past, youre not immune to future infections which means you can get it again. You can also still get other types of hepatitis, and having hepatitis C together with another type is more serious.
If youve already had hepatitis C, its advisable to have the vaccination against hepatitis A and B to protect your liver from further damage.
Whether you have symptoms or not, dont have sex until your healthcare professional says you can.
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Sharing Personal Care Items
The chances of spreading hepatitis C within your household are low but possible. To be safe, don’t share personal care items that could be contaminated with blood, Lee says. These include razors, toothbrushes, cuticle scissors, and nail clippers.
In addition, be mindful when you go to nail salons or barbershops, where the same tools are used on all customers. A study published in the November-December 2014 issue of the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice found that while regulations to safeguard the public exist in most states, it’s unknown how many businesses comply with them. Ask about tool-sterilization procedures before you frequent these establishments. You can also bring your own nail care supplies.
What To Know About Hepatitis C During Oral And Anal Sex
Oral sex does not pose an increased risk of transmitting the hepatitis C virus, according to the American Liver Foundation, unless there are open sores or cuts in the mouth. To be safe, however, the CDC recommends using a new latex condom whenever you have oral sex to reduce the risk of transmitting hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections like HIV.
Anal sex is high-risk, though, because rectal tissue is fragile and can easily tear when manipulated or pushed to expand. If the tissue tears and bleeds, theres a chance for blood-to-blood contact. For this reason, its best to always use a condom during anal sex. Its also important to liberally apply water- or silicone-based lubricant to keep anal tissue and condoms from tearing.
If you use sex toys, it may be safest to avoid sharing them. If youre engaging in rough sex that results in skin tears, even tiny traces of infected blood that remain on a toy can pass through openings in the skin although the risk of spreading bloodborne diseases remains very low. Whats more, the human papilloma virus has been transmitted via sex toys, even after cleaning.
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How Do You Test For Hepatitis B
A simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have the virus. You may also be given extra tests to see if your liver is damaged.
If youve got hepatitis B you should be tested for other STIs. Its important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have hepatitis B dont notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on. This can also stop you from getting the infection again.
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Why Getting Tested Is Important
A blood test is one of the only ways to confirm a diagnosis of hepatitis C. Additionally, hepatitis C often has no visible symptoms for many years.
Because of this, its important to be tested if you believe youve been exposed to the virus. Getting a timely diagnosis can help ensure you receive treatment before permanent liver damage occurs.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hepatitis A
It usually takes a few weeks after becoming infected with hepatitis A to exhibit symptoms, and people also can have the infection and not ever have symptoms.
Often, children who are infected do not develop noticeable symptoms.
For those who do develop symptoms, they can include the following:
- Sudden nausea and vomiting
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Kissing And Risk Of Hepatitis: Should You Be Worried
Robert Burakoff, MD, MPH, is board-certified in gastroentrology. He is the vice chair for ambulatory services for the department of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, where he is also a professor. He was the founding editor and co-editor in chief of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
It’s been said that when you kiss someone, you kiss everyone that person has kissed before. I’ll leave it to doctors to debate the truth of that claim, but a point worth noting is that sometimes kissing can be very intimate and, unfortunately, an opportunity to spread infection. Is viral hepatitis one of those infections?
Is Everyone Around Me Now At Risk
The hepatitis C infection can only occur if the blood of an infected person is able to enter another persons body. It is the blood that is infectious, not the person. The virus cannot be transmitted by touching, kissing, hugging or by sharing cutlery.
Am I sexually infectious?
The risk of sexual transmission is debated, but it is generally accepted as being very low much lower than many other identified transmission routes for hepatitis C.
Choices about sexual behaviour are personal and some couples decide that such a low risk is acceptable and continue to have unprotected sex. Other couples, however, decide to use protection.
Unprotected sexual intercourse could be a risk but the likelihood of transmitting the virus without any blood contact is considered very small.
The risk of sexual transmission is increased if blood is present, if you have multiple sexual partners, or if you have other sexually transmitted infections.
In addition, the risk of sexual transmission is increased if the person also has HIV.
Can I transmit hepatitis C in other ways?
Sharing things such as razor blades, nail scissors, toothbrushes and hair clippers poses a risk. If your blood gets onto one of these things, someone else using them might become infected if they also cut themselves.
It seems that HCV can live outside the body in dried blood for varying levels of time. This can vary between sixteen hours to four days.
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How Do I Know If I Have Hepatitis C Virus
Diagnosis of hepatitis C virus requires a blood test your doctor can order. Other blood tests can determine which subtype of HCV you have to better target your drug treatment, if needed. Your doctor will also want to know your viral load . In some patients, a liver biopsy is required to determine the level of damage.
Symptoms of chronic HCV may not appear for 2 to 3 decades after infection, so the disease may develop silently in your body for many years. This is the reason you should be tested for HCV infection, to start treatment if needed and to help protect your liver from damage.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone 18 years or older be tested for hepatitis C virus at least once in their lifetime. Women should be tested for hepatitis C testing during each pregnancy. Some high risk groups may need more frequent testing, such as people who share drug preparation equipment and those on hemodialysis.
Learn More: Oral Hepatitis C Treatments: The Evolving Landscape
How Do You Get Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is really contagious. Its transmitted through contact with semen , vaginal fluids, and blood. You can get it from:
having vaginal, anal, or oral sex
sharing toothbrushes and razors
sharing needles for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.
getting stuck with a needle that has the Hep B virus on it.
Hepatitis B can also be passed to babies during birth if their mother has it.
Hepatitis B isnt spread through saliva , so you CANT get hepatitis B from sharing food or drinks or using the same fork or spoon. Hepatitis B is also not spread through kissing, hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or breastfeeding.
Read Also: How Do You Get Hepatitis Ab And C
Hepatitis And Sex: Frequently Asked Questions
Itâs widely known that viral hepatitis can spread through consuming contaminated food or sharing dirty hypodermic needles. But the liver-destroying disease can also sometimes be spread through sexual contact. Hereâs what you need to know to protect yourself.
How many kinds of viral hepatitis are there?
Scientists have identified at least five types of viral hepatitis that lead to liver problems. In the U.S., the main threats are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
Can all types be spread by sexual contact?
Hepatitis A spreads via fecal-oral contact, which can occur if there is direct oral-anal contact or contact with fingers or objects that have been in or near the anus of an infected person. If even a microscopic amount of virus-laden feces gets into the mouth, infection potentially can result.
Are men and women equally at risk of getting and spreading hepatitis through sex?
The risk is determined by a personâs behavior, not their gender, although some studies have shown that it is easier for a man to transmit HCV to a woman than vice versa.
Men who have sex with men are 10 to 15 times more likely than the general population to be infected with hepatitis B.
How can I make sure my partner is free of hepatitis before we have sex?
Are some sex acts especially likely to transmit hepatitis?
Any sexual activity that might cause abrasions, cuts, or other trauma is especially risky.
Is it possible to catch hepatitis from kissing?
How Easy Is It To Transmit Hep C
Heres the good news: Its not easy to transmit hepatitis C without blood exposure, so you really dont have to worry about hugging or sitting close or anything like that, Dr. Fox says. Hepatitis C is in body fluids other than blood, but its harder to pass it without blood exchange.
That said, if you or someone close to you has hepatitis C, certain precautions can keep you extra-safe. For example, if your partner has hep C, its pretty hard to get it while doing normal activities, but you might consider not sharing things that could potentially have blood on it, like nail clippers and toothbrushes, says John Goff, M.D., a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and member of the American Liver Foundations National Medical Advisory Committee.
Other ways you cant get hep C? Breastfeeding, kissing, coughing, sneezing, eating or drinking, according to the CDC. Whew!
Read Also: Is Hepatitis C A Blood Borne Pathogen
What Do Hepatitis C Symptoms Look Like
Hepatitis C infection can go through two stages: acute and chronic. In the early, or acute stage, most people don’t have symptoms. If they do develop symptoms, these can include:
- flu-like symptoms, tiredness, high temperature and aches and pains
- loss of appetite
- tummy pain
- jaundice, meaning your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow
While for some people, the infection will clear without treatment, in most cases, acute infection will develop into long-term chronic infection. Chronic infection may not become apparent for a number of years until the liver displays signs of damage. These symptoms can include:
- mental confusion and depression these are specific to hepatitis C
- constantly feeling tired
- nausea, vomiting or tummy pain
- dark urine
- feeling bloated
- joint and muscle pain
Without treatment, chronic hepatitis C can cause scarring of the liver , which can cause the liver to stop working properly. A small number of people with cirrhosis develop liver cancer and these complications can lead to death. Other than a liver transplant, theres no cure for cirrhosis. However, treatments can help relieve some of the symptoms.
Who Should Get Tested For Hcv
According to current CDC guidelines, everyone in the baby-boom generation should get tested. In addition, the CDC recommends testing for anyone who has ever injected drugs, even if it was years ago, and even if it was only once. Anyone treated for a blood clotting condition before 1987, the year hepatitis C was discovered, should get tested. The same is true for anyone who received a blood transfusion before 1992, the year blood detection was widely implemented.
The CDC also recommends testing for anyone who has been on long-term hemodialysis for kidney disease or anyone who has been exposed to potentially contaminated blood via accidental needle stick or injury with a sharp object. Babies born to a mother with hepatitis C should also be tested, although the CDC recommends waiting to test until the child is at least 18 months old. The child is likely to still have hepatitis C-fighting antibodies for months after birth, so an earlier test might register a false positive.
Finally, the CDC recommends universal testing for anyone who has HIV, as the risk factors for the two infections are similar.
Image credit: jarun011 for iStock via Thinkstock.
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Duration Of Hepatitis A
For the majority of people, symptoms of hepatitis A last less than two months. In about 10 to 15 percent of people, the symptoms of HAV can last up to six months.
People are most contagious soon after they get the infection, one to two weeks before symptoms appear. Healthy adults are no longer contagious two weeks after the illness begins, while children and people who have weak immune systems can remain contagious for up to six months, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
After a person has HAV and recovers, they can never get the infection again they are immune for life.
Which Hepatitis Is An Std
Hepatitis A, B, and C can be sexually transmitted.
- Hepatitis A: Although the fecal-oral route is common for hepatitis A, the virus can also be transmitted from any sexual activity. The use of condoms does not effectively prevent the spread of hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis B: Sexual contact is the most common mode of Hepatitis B transmission in the United States. Compared to HIV, a hepatitis B infection is 50 to 100 times more likely to be transmitted sexually. The transmission risk is higher among unvaccinated people with risk behaviors like having multiple sex partners and men having sex with men .
- Hepatitis C: The Hepatitis C virus may be transmitted via sexual contact. However, studies have shown that such transmission is very rare. A higher rate of sexual transmission of the hepatitis C infection is seen in MSM, especially those who practice unprotected anal intercourse and have an infection with the human immunodeficiency virus .
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Treatments For Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C can be treated with medicines that stop the virus multiplying inside the body. These usually need to be taken for several weeks.
Until recently, most people would have taken 2 main medicines called pegylated interferon and ribavirin .
Tablet-only treatments are now available.
These new hepatitis C medicines have been found to make treatment more effective, are easier to tolerate, and have shorter treatment courses.
They include sofosbuvir and daclatasvir.
Using the latest medications, more than 90% of people with hepatitis C may be cured.
But it’s important to be aware that you will not be immune to the infection and should take steps to reduce your risk of becoming infected again.