Can Hepatitis C Infection Be Spread By Sexual Contact
Yes, but the risk of getting HCV from sexual contact is believed to be low. The risk increases for those who have multiple sex partners, have a sexually transmitted infection, engage in “rough sex” or other activities that might cause bleeding, or are infected with HIV. More research is needed to understand how and when HCV can be spread by sexual contact.
Life Expectancy And Prognosis
Can you die from hepatitis? Technically, the complications of chronic hepatitis C are fatal. About 30,000 people in the U.S. die each year from cirrhosis.
How long can you live with untreated hep C? The disease affects everyone differently, so thereâs no rule. But about 70% to 80% of people with will get chronic help C. Within 20 years, about 20% to 30% of those people will get cirrhosis. From there, it depends on what type of cirrhosis you have, your treatment, and if you can get a liver transplant.
Can hepatitis C go away on its own? Yes. From 15% to 20% of people with hep C clear it from their bodies without treatment. Itâs more likely to happen in women and people who have symptoms. But it usually happens between 4 and 18 months after symptoms start.
American Liver Foundation Hep C 123: âFrequently Asked Questions.â
Gastroenterology: âExtrahepatic morbidity and mortality of chronic hepatitis C.â
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: âHepatitis C.â
Therapeutic Advances in Infectious Disease: âExtrahepatic Manifestations of Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection.â
The Hepatitis C Support Project: âAn Overview of Extrahepatic Manifestations of Hepatitis C.â
BioDrugs: âManagement of hepatitis C virus-related arthritis.â
Frontiers in Endocrinology: âDiabetes and Hepatitis C: A Two-Way Association.â
U.S. National Library of Medicine: âAtherosclerosis,â âPreventing Hepatitis B or C.â
Hepatitis C Kills More Americans Than Any Other Infectious Disease
New CDC studies underscore urgency of hepatitis C testing and treatment, especially for baby boomers
Contact:Media Relations 639-3286
Deaths associated with hepatitis C reached an all-time high of 19,659 in 2014, according to new surveillance data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
A second CDC study, published online today in Clinical Infectious Diseases, shows that annual hepatitis C-related mortality in 2013 surpassed the total combined number of deaths from 60 other infectious diseases reported to CDC, including HIV, pneumococcal disease, and tuberculosis. Further, both studies use data from death certificates, which often underreport hepatitis C, so there likely were even more hepatitis C-related deaths than these numbers suggest.
The greatest hepatitis C burden falls on baby boomers those born from 1945 to 1965 many of whom have unknowingly been living with the infection for many years. According to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases earlier this year, many baby boomers were infected during medical procedures in the years after World War II, when injection and blood transfusion technologies were not as safe as they are today. Without diagnosis and treatment, they increasingly develop liver cancer and other life-threatening hepatitis C-related diseases, and they may unknowingly transmit the disease to others.
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What Do I Do If I Find Out I Have Viral Hepatitis
After learning from your doctor that you have hepatitis, your first step will be to learn more about the virus. Read government resources, like the websites listed below, to find current, scientific information. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is important to prevent the virus from becoming serious. Dont drink or misuse drugs because they are hard on your liver. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, and exercise. Work to protect others by not donating blood or participating in risky behaviors, including sharing needles when using drugs or having unprotected sex.
Do Follow Your Doctors Exact Instructions For Treatment
For hepatitis C medications to be effective, they need to be taken as prescribed. Missing doses increases the risk of the virus becoming resistant to medications, according to the American Liver Foundation. If you have side effects that make it difficult to take your medication, share this information with your doctor so they can make adjustments to your treatment plan.
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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 simeprevir, 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.
How Should I Take Care Of Myself If I Have Hepatitis C
Good health habits are essential for those who have hepatitis C. You should especially avoid alcohol and medicines and drugs that can put stress on the liver. You should eat a healthy diet and start exercising regularly. Your family doctor can help you plan a diet that is healthy and practical.
Talk to your doctor about any medicines that you are taking, including over-the-counter medicine. Many medicines, including acetaminophen , are broken down by the liver. Because of this, they may increase the speed of liver damage. You should also limit alcohol use. It speeds the progression of liver diseases like hepatitis C. An occasional alcoholic drink may be okay, but check with your doctor first.
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Testing For Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is usually diagnosed using 2 blood tests: the antibody test and the PCR test. These can be as part of a routine blood test or are often combined as a dried blood spot test. The dried blood spot test is similar to a blood sugar test in pricking the finger to get a blood spot that is put on a testing card. This is then sent to a laboratory to be tested.
Another similar test is an antigen test, which if used can often get the results back in 90 minutes. This is very expensive and not many services have access to the machine needed.
Favorite Hep C Support Networks
This site gives a very detailed listing of live hep C support groups in cities across the country. Meetings are often for those undergoing treatment or people who have questions about treatment. A database that searches by ZIP code makes it simple to find a support group near you.
This online support network has about 34,000 members at latest count. People can anonymously post about all concerns related to the disease, including issues about stigma, depression, and care.
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What Is Hepatitis C Again
Hepatitis is, essentially, inflammation of the liver, and when your liver is inflamed or damaged, it wont function the way it should, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which means that it may not help your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons the way it’s meant to.
There are three major forms of hepatitis that are more common in the US: hepatitis A, B, and Ceach of which is spread through a different virus. It can also be caused by drug or alcohol use, per the US National Library of Medicine .
Hepatitis C in particular can be divided into two categories: acute and chronic. Acute hepatitis C happens within the first six months after youre exposed to the hepatitis C virus, the CDC says, and some people’s bodies are able to fight off the infectionsymptoms of which can include dark yellow urine, fatigue, fever, and jaundice.
Generally speaking, people become infected with hepatitis C through blood-to-blood contact with an infected personthat can include blood transfusions, organ transplants, and IV drug use, says Dr. Adalja. Less commonly, the CDC says you can get hepatitis C through sharing personal care items that may have come into contact with an infected persons blood, like razors or toothbrushes having sexual contact with someone infected with hepatitis C being born to a mother with hepatitis C or getting a tattoo or piercing with an infected needle.
Dont Take Vitamins And Supplements Without Talking To Your Doctor
Dietary supplements havent been shown to be effective treatments for hepatitis C, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, and some may even have harmful side effects and interact poorly with medications. If you take vitamins or supplements, or are considering taking them for other health reasons, make sure your doctor knows. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a particular brand or suggest a different approach if the potential interactions or risks are too high.
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Do Talk To Your Doctor If You Are Pregnant Or Planning To Become Pregnant
If youre taking ribavirin to treat your hepatitis C, you should be aware that the drug carries a risk for birth defects, so it shouldnt be used by pregnant people, people who plan to become pregnant, or people with partners who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, Lee says. In fact, the risk of defects is so serious that two forms of birth control are recommended while a person undergoes hepatitis C treatment and for six months after treatment is finished, according to the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Its also important to note that the safety of ribavirin in breast milk has not been tested, so women should avoid breastfeeding while taking this medication. If youre thinking about becoming pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor first.
Changes In Death Rates
After adjusting their calculations for a persons age, the scientists found the following trends in the following groups:
- 19922002 increasing rates of death
- 20022009 stable rates of death
- 20142018 a sharp decline that coincided with the availability of DAAs
- 19922000 increasing rates of death
- 20012013 gradually declining rates of death
- 20142018 a dramatic increase in rates of death
The scientists stated that people who were HCV negative and who injected street drugs had a dramatically increased risk of death starting in 2004.
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What Treatments Are Available For Viral Hepatitis
Many medications are available for the treatment of chronic HBV and HCV infection. For chronic HBV infection, there are several antiviral drugs. People who are chronically infected with HBV require consistent medical monitoring to ensure that the medications are keeping the virus in check and that the disease is not progressing to liver damage or cancer.
There are also antiviral medications available for HCV treatment and new treatments have been approved in recent years. Many antiviral HCV treatments can cure more than 90 percent of people who take them within 8 to 12 weeks. HCV treatment dramatically reduces deaths, and people who are cured are much less likely to develop cirrhosis or liver cancer. However, not everyone infected with HCV needs or can benefit from treatment. NIDA researchers have identified genes that are associated with spontaneous clearance of HCV. These genes also enable people who are unable to clear HCV on their own to respond more favorably to treatment medications. This new information can be used to determine which patients can benefit most from HCV treatment. More studies must be done, but this is a first step to personalized medicine for the treatment of HCV.
What Is Chronic Hepatitis C
Doctors refer to hepatitis C infections as either acute or chronic:
- An acute HCV infection is a short-term illness that clears within 6 months of when a person is exposed to the virus.
- A person who still has HCV after 6 months is said to have a chronic hepatitis C infection. This is a long-term illness, meaning the virus stays in the body and can cause lifelong illness. An estimated 3.2 million people in the U.S. have chronic HCV.
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What Is Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is spread through contact with people infected with the disease, their fluids or waste. It affects your liver and usually causes mild illness, but can sometimes be severe and result in liver failure. Adults are more likely to have severe symptoms than children.
Hepatitis A, B and C are all different diseases, so they have different symptoms and different treatments. The hepatitis A vaccine does not protect you from hepatitis B or hepatitis C. If youve had hepatitis A before, you wont get it again, but you can still get hepatitis B or C.
When To Seek Medical Advice
See your GP if you persistently have any of the later symptoms above, or if they keep returning. They may recommend having a blood test that can check for hepatitis C. Read more about diagnosing hepatitis C.
None of the symptoms above mean you definitely have hepatitis C, but it’s important to get them checked out.
You should also speak to your GP about getting tested if there’s a risk you’re infected, even if you don’t have any symptoms. This particularly includes people who inject drugs or have done so in the past.
Read about the causes of hepatitis C for more information about who’s at risk of having the infection.
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What Is The Impact Of Hepatitis C
- 58 million people have hepatitis C
- 75% of people with hepatitis C live in low- and middle-income countries
- About 50% of all people with hepatitis C live in 4 countries: China, Pakistan, India, and Egypt
- 75% are unaware they are infected
- only 13% have had access to treatment
- 2.3 million people have both HIV and hepatitis C
- 1530% of those chronically infected develop cirrhosis of the liver within 20 years
- 800 people die every day
Hepatitis C is found throughout the world. There are six different major strains of hepatitis C, known as genotypes, distributed across different regions, with genotype 1 being most prevalent in high-income countries and genotype 3 most prevalent in low- and middle-income countries. Genotype 3 accounts for 30% of global hepatitis C infection.
Why Should People Take Antiviral Medications For Hepatitis C
The purpose of taking antiviral medications for hepatitis C is to:
- remove all the hepatitis C virus from your body permanently
- stop or slow down the damage to your liver
- reduce the risk of developing cirrhosis
- reduce the risk of developing liver cancer
- reduce the risk of liver failure and the need for a liver transplant
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Living With Hepatitis C
Coping with hepatitis C isnt easy. You may feel sad, scared, or angry. You may not believe you have the disease. These feelings are normal, but they shouldnt keep you from living your daily life. If they do or if they last a long time you may be suffering from depression. People who are depressed have most or all of the following symptoms nearly every day, all day, for 2 weeks or longer:
- Feeling sad, hopeless and having frequent crying spells.
- Losing interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy .
- Feeling guilty, helpless, or worthless.
- Thinking about death or suicide.
- Sleeping too much or having problems sleeping.
- Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss or gain.
- Feeling very tired all the time.
- Having trouble paying attention and making decisions.
- Having aches and pains that dont get better with treatment.
- Feeling restless, irritated, and easily annoyed.
Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms. Your doctor can help by recommending a support group or a therapist. He or she may also prescribe a medicine for you to take.
Who Is At Risk For Hepatitis C
You are more likely to get hepatitis C if you
- Have injected drugs
If you have chronic hepatitis C, you probably will not have symptoms until it causes complications. This can happen decades after you were infected. For this reason, hepatitis C screening is important, even if you have no symptoms.
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Can Hepatitis C Be Cured
Yes. About 15% to 25% of those people infected with the virus will spontaneously recover without medication. For those individuals who don’t recover without medication, there are several antiviral drugs that are effective at ridding the body of the virus before enough damage has occurred to destroy the liver. Hepatitis C “cure” rates are reported to approach 100% .
How Do You Die From Hepatitis A
06 June 2018
A woman in Australia died after eating frozen pomegranate seeds that were linked to an outbreak of hepatitis A, health officials announced this week.
The 64-year-old woman’s death is the first in the hepatitis A outbreak tied to pomegranate seeds that has sickened 24 people in Australia, according to SA Health, the public health system in South Australia. Although the product tied to the outbreak packets of Creative Gourmet’s frozen pomegranate arils was recalled two months ago, it can take up to seven weeks for people to show symptoms of the viral illness after they’ve been infected, SA Health said in a June 5 statement.
But how do you die from a hepatitis A infection?
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The virus attacks and destroys liver cells, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who was not involved in the Australia case. The vast majority of people with hepatitis A have only mild symptoms and recover completely from the infection without incurring lasting damage to their liver, he said.
But a small proportion of people, about 1 in every 250 people with hepatitis A , develop life-threatening complications from the infection, such as liver failure, according to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service .