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How To Live With Hepatitis C

How Can I Prevent Passing Hcv On To Others

What people living with hepatitis C need to know about COVID-19

HCV infection is usually spread by blood-to-blood contact with someone who has a current HCV infection. There is a very low risk of spreading the virus through other body fluids, such as semen or vaginal fluids. This is more likely if blood is present in those fluids.

If you are living with HCV infection, you can reduce the chance of passing the virus to others by doing the following:

Complementary And Alternative Medicine For Hepatitis C

Complementary and alternative medicines wont cure hepatitis C, but they may relieve some of your symptoms and help you feel better. For example, some people have used essential oils to help relieve stress and anxiety associated with hepatitis C, and others have experimented with apple cider vinegar in hopes of strengthening their immune system and reducing liver inflammation.

A past study supports the use of lavender oil for stress relief, while other research suggests clary sage oil could be helpful. To be clear, theres limited evidence supporting the benefits of either therapy for hepatitis C.

Similarly, some people have been able to ease hepatitis C symptoms with complementary therapies like yoga, meditation, and acupuncture, according to the Caring Ambassadors Program, an advocacy organization that strives to improve the lives of those living with various health conditions.

Living With Hepatitis C: What Are The Health Risks

Medically reviewed by Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD on February 3, 2020. Written by Libby Pellegrini. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Hepatitis C is a virus that can spread through exposure to infected blood and sexual contact. For some people, a hepatitis C infection will cause a short-lived infection, coming and going on its own, without any long-term consequences. However, for 75-85% of the people who contract hepatitis C, the virus causes a lifelong infection that could lead to liver scarring , liver cancer, and liver failure.

Because hepatitis C infections donât always come with immediate symptoms, many people living with hepatitis C are unaware that they are infectedâand donât get prompt treatment.

If youâre concerned about hepatitis C for yourself or a loved one, continue reading to learn more about risk factors, health complications associated with living with hepatitis C when it isnât treated promptly, and more.

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Treatment Of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is treated with antiviral medications that aim to clear the virus from your body.

New all-tablet treatments have greatly improved the outcomes for people with hepatitis C. These treatments can cure more than 95% of individuals with chronic hepatitis C. There are several new tablets that are used in combination to treat all hepatitis C strains . They are effective for people with no liver damage and those who have more advanced liver damage or cirrhosis.

These new tablet medications are available and subsidised on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and can be prescribed by specialists, general practitioners and specialised nurse practitioners.

There are no restrictions on accessing treatment it is available for all adults with a Medicare card. People under 18 are able to access treatment and it is recommended they are referred to a pediatrician experienced in the treatment of hepatitis C.

For more information on the new medications for the treatment of hepatitis C, see our video: Hepatitis C Cure what it means for Victorians.

If your doctor does not know about the new treatments, you can call the LiverLine on for information, and to find a GP who can help you.

Talk with your doctor about treatment options and the potential for interactions with other medications, herbal preparations and other drugs. If you take prescribed medication this will be managed so you can access treatment.

In general, if you have hepatitis C you will feel better if you:

Your Friendships With Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C Treatment: Why You Need It, How to Get It

In one large-scale study, evaluating the relationships of 342 people with hepatitis C, about 45 percent of those interviewed reported the loss of at least one relationship because of the disease.


The most common reason involved fears related to transmitting the disease.

Remember, though: Hepatitis C isnt transmitted through casual contact but rather through direct contact with infected blood, explains the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists .

Other reasons for conflict involved ignorance about the disease and discrimination.

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Exercising With Hepatitis C

Obesity and being overweight can cause fat deposits in the liver, a condition known as fatty liver. Exercise, though, can help prevent obesity, explains Adalja and the Mayo Clinic.

Research, such as an study published in 2018 in Gene Expression: The Journal of Liver Research, notes that physical activity is a proven strategy to reduce fatty liver.

Exercise is most important for the liver in general because it helps mobilize liver fat out of liver cells, says Tarek Hassanein, MD, a board-certified physician based in San Diego specializing in internal medicine, gastroenterology, and transplant hepatology. Additionally, you need to exercise to maintain the health of the muscles and bones, which are affected by advanced liver disease caused by hepatitis C, he says.

So if you havent already, think about ways to incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine. Go for a walk or swim, or practice tai chi or yoga for about 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week at moderate intensity, per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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?


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?


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Hepatitis C And Blood Spills

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.

Sometimes The Infection Goes Away On Its Own

Living with hepatitis

Acute hepatitis is C is a short-term illness that occurs within the first six months after being exposed to the virus. Like the human papillomavirus , early acute hepatitis C can clear on its own without treatment this happens about 25% of the time.

However, it’s more likely that the virus will remain in your body longer than six months, at which point it’s considered to be chronic hepatitis C infection.

“Being younger or a woman tends to be a factor in whether the virus clears on its own, and genetics may play a role,” Reau says. “But we can’t determine with certainty which people are certain to clear the infection and which aren’t.”

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Hepatitis C Treatment Programmes

An important first step to providing treatment for people with hepatitis C and HIV co-infection is to diagnose infections. HIV services should routinely screen all patients for hepatitis C.

However, guidelines recommending screening are often poorly implemented, especially in low and middle-income countries. Hepatitis C testing may not be systematically provided to groups which have elevated rates of hepatitis C, such as people who inject drugs, prisoners, sex workers, and men who have sex with men.43

Causes Of Hepatitis C

You can become infected with hepatitis C if you come into contact with the blood of an infected person.

Other bodily fluids can also contain the virus, but blood contains the highest level of it. Just a small trace of blood can cause an infection. At room temperature, it’s thought the virus may be able survive outside the body in patches of dried blood on surfaces for up to several weeks.

The main ways you can become infected with the hepatitis C virus are described below.

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Evaluation Of The Quality Of Life

The HRQoL of hepatitis C patients was improved after the use of second-generation DAAs. The evaluation of HRQoL before and after treatment through SF-36 and CLDQ showed an improvement in different domains . In the case of SF-36, a statistical difference was observed – i.e., an increase in patients’ HRQoL – in six of the eight domains: PF, PH, P, GH, V, and MH. Patients have also presented significantly higher averages after treatment in four of the six domains in the CLDQ: EF, WO, SS and overall score.

Table 2

To compare the quality of life in patients receiving different treatments another analysis was performed. We observed that patients receiving SOF + DAC ± RBV had significantly lower scores before and after treatment compared to the ones receiving SOF + SMV .

Table 3

How To Protect Yourself

Hepatitis C and Cardiovascular Disease
  • Drinking alcohol can hurt your liver, so it adds to the bad effects of HCV. The best way to protect your liver is to cut out all alcohol. Less safe but better than doing nothing, is to drink a lot less and not every day.
  • Cut out fast foods, sodas, juices, desserts, and fatty foods. These foods put fat in the liver and damage it
  • Stay away from illegal drugs, sharing needles, and snorting, because you can spread HCV to others and you can get other serious blood infections from them.
  • Stop smoking because it hurts you and your liver.
  • Check with your health care provider about herbal medicine, since some types of herbal medicine can hurt your liver.
  • Check with your health care provider about your prescription pills because some medications may harm the liver.

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Prepare For A Daily Rollercoaster Of Emotions

No matter what stage youre in, whether it be figuring out your diagnosis or starting a treatment plan, each step of a hepatitis C journey can bring on an array of emotions. Before treatment I felt terrified and kept hoping that the diagnosis was all a nightmare, says Karen Hoyt. I had very little energy and my body hurt every single day. Once Hoyt started treatment, she focused on the end goal to keep her spirits up. Every time I took my medication, it was one step closer to being cured, Hoyt says. I imagined that the pills had superpowers, scrubbing my liver clean of the virus. When taking an antacid or using extra skin cream to get me through the side effects of an upset stomach or irritated skin, I didnt let it get me down. I knew it was worth the effort.

Hoyt also recommends being rigid when it comes to your self-care, and most importantly, to not feel guilty about it. I was stubborn about getting rest and eating healthy foods during treatment because it was all going to pay off in the long run, says Hoyt. After treatment, I immediately felt much younger. I hadnt realized how tired my body had slowly become. It was exciting to think that I could regain all that I lost from having the virus and still live a long life.

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 been sterilised or cleaned between customers. However, most salons operate to high standards, so this risk is low.

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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.

Should I Be Screened For Hepatitis C

What is Hepatitis C and Why Should You Care?

Doctors usually recommend one-time screening of all adults ages 18 to 79 for hepatitis C. Screening is testing for a disease in people who have no symptoms. Doctors use blood tests to screen for hepatitis C. Many people who have hepatitis C dont have symptoms and dont know they have hepatitis C. Screening tests can help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis C before it causes serious health problems.

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Can I Travel Abroad

You can travel abroad if you have hepatitis C, but you should speak to your doctor in advance.

You may need to have vaccinations and special arrangements may need to be made to ensure you’re able to transport and store your hepatitis C medication safely.

It might also be a good idea to take any documentation, such as details of blood tests or medical records, in case you need medical treatment abroad.

Read more about travel vaccinations and accessing healthcare abroad.

Should People With Hiv Get Tested For Hcv

Every person who has HIV should get tested for HCV. Usually, a person will first get an HCV antibody test. This test checks for HCV antibodies in the blood. HCV antibodies are disease-fighting proteins that the body produces in response to HCV infection.

A positive result on an HCV antibody test means that the person has been exposed to HCV at some point in their life. However, a positive antibody test does not necessarily mean the person has HCV. For this reason, a positive result on an HCV antibody test must be confirmed by a second test. This follow-up test checks to see if HCV is present in the personâs blood. A positive result on this test confirms that a person has HCV.

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You Need To Find The Right Doctor

When you have hep C, it’s important to find the right doctor. Although it’s possible to get cured, it’s likely you’ll be getting care from the same person for many years.

Many kinds of doctors treat people with liver diseases. Look for one who has a lot of experience taking care of people with hep C. Information about the disease changes quickly. So you want to make sure the person treating you keeps up with latest advances.

Doctors trained to treat organs of the digestive tract , liver doctors , and infectious disease specialists all stay up to date on how to treat and cure hepatitis C.

Reactive Or Positive Hepatitis C Antibody Test

Healthy Tips for Hepatitis C Treatment
  • A reactive or positive antibody test means that Hepatitis C antibodies were found in the blood and a person has been infected with the Hepatitis C virus at some point in time.
  • Once people have been infected, they will always have antibodies in their blood. This is true even if they have cleared the Hepatitis C virus.
  • A reactive antibody test does not necessarily mean that you have Hepatitis C. A person will need an additional, follow-up test.

Persons for Whom HCV Testing Is Recommended

  • Adults born from 1945 through 1965 should be tested once
  • Those who:
  • Ever injected drugs, including those who injected once or a few times many years ago
  • Have certain medical conditions, including persons:
  • who received clotting factor concentrates produced before 1987
  • who were ever on long-term hemodialysis
  • with persistently abnormal alanine aminotransferase levels
  • who have HIV infection
  • Were prior recipients of transfusions or organ transplants, including persons who:
  • were notified that they received blood from a donor who later tested positive for HCV infection
  • received a transfusion of blood, blood components, or an organ transplant before July 1992
  • HCV- testing based on a recognized exposure is recommended for:
  • Healthcare, emergency medical, and public safety workers after needle sticks, sharps, or mucosal exposures to HCV-positive blood
  • Children born to HCV-positive women
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    What To Consider Before Joining A Clinical Trial

    Before signing up for a clinical trial, the NIH recommends asking the following questions: What is the purpose and length of the study? Will you have to travel to a different state? If so, are you responsible for your own transportation, hotels, and meals? Its also important to know the risks associated with participating. You may have side effects from treatment, some severe.

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