When To Get Tested
The Key To Protecting Ourselves And Others Is In Being Blood Aware’
- Keep sores, cuts and abrasions covered with a clean dressing or plaster
- If you have a minor injury at work, try to deal with the bleed yourself
- Use gloves whenever contact with blood is possible
- Ensure that a good first aid box is available at all times in the work area
- Ensure that disposable gloves are always available in key work areas
- Clean surface blood spills with paper towels followed by a detergent wash. Then if possible clean the area with a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Dry the area with clean paper towels. Bag and seal blood-stained articles before placing them in the main bin
- Adhere to local infection control standard precautions in the healthcare setting
Risks Of Disease Transmission
Historically, some people have chosen PAD to avoid the transmission of bloodborne diseases. This was especially true in the early- to mid-1980s, when reports came out saying people had been infected with HIV from blood transfusions.
Many hepatitis C infections were also acquired from blood transfusions performed before the viral cause was officially identified in 1989. The perceived risk of a blood transfusion can often exceed the actual risk, particularly with regard to bloodborne infections.
Despite fears of infection from HIV, hepatitis C, and other diseases, transfusions in the United States are considered safe and pose little risk of such transmission.
Since the advent of universal blood screenings in the late 1990s, the risk of acquiring HIV from blood transfusions has dropped to one in every 1.8 million procedures. In fact, the U.S. saw only three confirmed cases of HIV from a blood transfusion between 1999 and 2003.
Similarly, the risk of hepatitis C from contaminated blood is less than one in every two million procedures, according to a 2014 review of studies in the journal Transfusion.
Beyond the risk of infection, the chances of receiving incompatible blood are extremely rare in the U.S. and considered a “never event” in the United Kingdom.
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Baby Boomers Are Especially Vulnerable
“The hepatitis C virus didn’t have a name or a screening test until in 1989,” Reau says. “That means people born between 1945 and 1965, the group referred to as ‘baby boomers,’ are at highest risk of infection. They grew up before health care facilities started taking standard precautions, like not sharing vials of medicine among patients and requiring staff to wear gloves.”
The CDC reports that baby boomers are five times more likely to have Hepatitis C than other adults, accounting for 75% of those living with the disease.
These are some other reasons you may be at risk:
- You have engaged in high-risk behaviors like IV drug use or unprotected sex
- Your biological mother has/had hepatitis C
- You received blood transfusions, an organ transplant or dialysis before 1989
- You were or are currently incarcerated
How Is Hepatitis C Diagnosed
Many people find out by chance that they have the virus. They find out when their blood is tested before a blood donation or as part of a checkup when they advise their doctor of symptoms that may be related to hepatitis C. Some people are screened for hepatitis C because they are at higher risk of becoming infected. Often people with hepatitis C have high levels of liver enzymes in their blood.
If your doctor thinks you may have hepatitis C, he or she will talk to you about having a blood test. If the test shows hepatitis C antibodies, then you have had hepatitis C at some point. A second test can tell if you still have hepatitis C.
When blood tests show that you have hepatitis C, you may need a liver biopsy to see how well your liver is working. During a liver biopsy, a doctor will insert a needle between your ribs to collect a small sample of liver tissue to look at under a microscope. You may also have imaging tests, such as a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound, to make sure that you don’t have liver cancer.
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Myth #: Your Sex Life Is Over
While theres no cure, herpes treatment is simple and can shorten or prevent outbreaks, so you can still have a love life.
People have a disproportionate fear of herpes in relation to any other STI, Grimes says. They feel like their sex lives are ruined forever and thats in no way the case.
If you have the virus, your doctor may prescribe a medication like Zovirax or Valtrex to keep on hand in case of a flare-up. And if you experience outbreaks often, your provider may recommend daily dosing. However you treat it, its worth remembering that herpes is a condition to manage it doesnt define you.
If you have to be perfect for your new partner, that partner will be looking a very, very long time to find a match! Grimes says. Everyone has something, and since one in six Americans between 14-49 have HSV-2, odds are very high that your next partner is in the same boat. The main issue is to have productive conversations around these issues.
So theres no reason for all the stigma and secrecy surrounding herpes, since its safe to assume more people have it than you think. And if youre diagnosed with the virus, your provider will help you find a treatment plan thats easy, effective, and fit for your lifestyle.
Is Donating Plasma Painful
Whether the process is painful for you depends on your pain threshold. For some people, donating feels no worse than a pinprick, while others may feel more pain. If the nurse misses the vein or you experience plasma donation side effects, its possible youll experience more pain, but overall, most people report nothing more than mild discomfort.
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Semen Vaginal Fluids And Anal Mucus
If an HIV positive person has sex without a condom, and they do not have an undetectable viral load, HIV can get into the other persons blood because it lives in the semen, vaginal fluid and anal mucus. There does need to be a tear or graze in the other person for the HIV to enter into their body. A condom stops any fluid being passed to the other person, and it also stops unwanted pregnancy and getting other sexually transmitted infections.
Youre More Likely To Get Hiv If Your Partner Has Hiv And An Std
People with both HIV and an STD have more HIV in their semen or vaginal fluid. This makes it easier for a person with an STD or HIV to give the virus to others when having sex without a condom.
Remember, many people who have HIV dont know it. It can take many years for symptoms to show up. That is why it is so important to use condoms during sex, or not to have sex at all.
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Is Herpes Simplex Ever Serious
Genital herpes can cause severe discomfort and a flu-like illness.
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Tattoos And Body Piercings
- There are no known cases in the United States of anyone getting HIV this way.
- However, it is possible to get HIV from tattooing or body piercing if the equipment used for these procedures has someone elses blood in it or if the ink is shared. This is more likely to happen when the person doing the procedure is unlicensed because of the potential for unsanitary practices such as sharing needles or ink.
- If you get a tattoo or a body piercing, be sure that the person doing the procedure is properly licensed and that they use only new or sterilized needles, ink, and other supplies.
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Hepatitis C Testing And Diagnosis
Doctors will start by checking your blood for:
Anti-HCV antibodies: This blood test is the first and sometimes only one you may get. Also called the ELISA screen, it checks for antibodies that your body releases to fight the virus. These are proteins your body makes when it finds the hep C virus in your blood. They usually show up about 12 weeks after infection. Your test will be either negative or positive for antibodies. It usually takes a few days to a week to get results, though a rapid test is available in some places.
What the results mean
Negative . This is when your blood shows no signs of HCV antibodies. Most of the time, thatâs because you never came in contact with the virus and you do not have hep C.
Sometimes, your negative result can be false, meaning you have HCV. That may happen if you:
- Took the test too soon after your exposure. This test checks for only HCV antibodies, which can take several months to appear.
- Have HIV, a donated organ, or other conditions that weaken your immune system, which can suppress your antibodies
- Get hemodialysis for kidney problems
If youâve been exposed in the last 6 months, youâll need to be retested.
Positive . This means youâve been infected with HCV. But false positives are surprisingly common. More than 1 in 5 people who test positive donât actually have hepatitis C. Possible reasons include:
What the results mean
What If You Test Positive For Hepatitis C
- There is currently no cure for Hepatitis C. However, 20% of people who get the virus are able to clear it on their own.
- Chronic Hepatitis C increases the risk of liver damage, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. People who dont clear the virus can use medications to help manage life-long Hepatitis C and should have regular check-ups with their clinician.
- There are different strains of Hepatitis C. Depending on the strain you have and your medical history, you may be able to take medication that increases your chances of clearing the virus.
- Hepatitis C is a reportable infection. This means that if you test positive for Hepatitis C, you may be called by a public health nurse to get contact information for current and past sexual partners so that those people may be encouraged to get tested. Your name is not disclosed when a sexual partner is contacted.
- You can also contact current and past sexual partners yourself. If you wish to do so anonymously, you can use an email program called www.inspot.org.
For more information on testing for STIs, check out The Real Facts About STI Testing.
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When Should You Call Your Doctor
or other emergency services immediately if you have hepatitis C and you:
- Feel extremely confused or are having hallucinations.
- Are bleeding from the rectum or are vomiting blood.
- You think you may have been infected with hepatitis C.
- You have risk factors for hepatitis C, such as IV drug use.
- You have symptoms of hepatitis C and you think you may have been exposed to hepatitis C.
- A home test for hepatitis C virus shows that you have hepatitis C. More testing is needed to find out if you have an active infection.
In most areas, public health units are able to diagnose and provide assessment and treatment of hepatitis C.
Sharing Toothbrushes Scissors And Razors
There’s 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 sterilised or cleaned between customers. However, most salons operate to high standards, so this risk is low.
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Needle Use Or Accidental Stick
You can get hepatitis C from:
- Sharing needles and other equipment used to inject drugs.
- Having your ears or another body part pierced, getting a tattoo, or having acupuncture with needles that have not been sterilized properly. The risk of getting hepatitis C in these ways is very low.
- Working in a health care environment where you are exposed to fresh blood or where you may be pricked with a used needle. Following standard precautions for health care workers makes this risk very low.
Who Do I Need To Tell
- Its advisable to tell a medical person who may have contact with your blood
- You should discuss informing your sexual partner/s with your healthcare provider
- It is not necessary to tell anyone else
- Try to involve a health professional / counsellor in weighing up the benefits and concerns of telling others. They may be able to meet you together with your loved one to openly discuss Hepatitis C in a supportive environment
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Doctors Dont Advise Getting A Blood Test For Herpes Without Any Symptoms
Hilda Hutcherson, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, is one of those doctors. I usually dont do tests for herpes someone has a lesion or a sore, something I can see, I will do a swab and take it to a culture or check the DNA on the materials I removed, she says. If theres nothing there and I do a blood test and the blood test comes back positive, lets say its positive for type 1, what does that really mean? Most people are positive for type 1. She adds that someone could be HSV-1-positive and either have or not have genital herpes. The result doesnt mean much, and it makes people go crazy.
Hutchersons motto is pretty simple: Why stress yourself over something if you havent seen anything especially when its something as common as herpes? Lets say they have a blood test come in positive but theyve never had a lesion. Now what? You may never get a lesion, she says. Its for this reason that she recommends people do not get tested for herpes unless they have a visible lesion that can be cultured and sent to a lab. Lets say you get tested anyway and it comes back positive, despite the fact that you have no symptoms. What do you do?
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Genital Herpes Is Common Why Doesnt Cdc Recommend Testing Everyone For This Std
CDC does not recommend herpes testing for people without symptoms. This is because diagnosing genital herpes in someone without symptoms has not shown any change in their sexual behavior nor has it stopped the virus from spreading. Also, false positive test results are possible. Even if you do not have symptoms, you should talk openly and honestly about your sexual history with your doctor to find out if you should be tested for any STDs, including herpes.
Although CDC does not recommend that everyone get tested for herpes, herpes testing may be useful in some situations. Herpes blood tests might be useful
- If you have genital symptoms that could be related to herpes,
- If you have a sex partner with genital herpes, or
- If you want a complete STD exam, especially if you have multiple sex partners.
Please note that while a herpes blood test can help determine if you have herpes infection, it will not be able to tell you who gave you the infection.
Annex 7hepatitis C Virus Infection: Information For Blood Donors
Hepatitis C virus is found worldwide. It is estimated that 34 million people are infected with HCV each year and that 130170 million people are chronically infected with the virus. HCV is among the most common viruses that infect the liver and can cause hepatitis. Hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver.
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