Monday, July 15, 2024

Living With Someone With Hepatitis C

How Do You Limit Or Eliminate The Risk Of Hcv Transmission

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

If your partner has a cut or wound, wear gloves to help them, and clean up any spilled blood with bleach and water. Use protection during sex and avoid engaging in rough sex. If you have a cut or sore in your mouth, wait until it heals.

Supporting your partner through a hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment can help the two of you handle the unknowns and worries that accompany this new chapter. Being informed about how the disease is and isnt transmitted can help the two of you live a healthy, happy life together.

Baby Boomers Are At High Risk

If you were born between 1945 and 1965, you are five times more likely to be infected with Hepatitis C. You may not even realize you are infected. More than 75% of adults with Hepatitis C are baby boomers, and as they age, there is a greater chance that they will develop serious, life-threatening liver disease from Hepatitis C.

The reason that baby boomers have the highest rates of Hepatitis C is not completely understood. Most boomers are believed to have become infected in the 1970s and 1980s when rates of Hepatitis C were highest. Some may have been infected from contaminated blood and blood products before widespread screening of the blood supply began in 1992. Still, for many the cause of infection is unknown.

Testing, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. The CDC recommends that all persons born in these years be tested for Hepatitis C. Check with your doctor or a healthcare provider about testing.

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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Anyone Living With Hiv

  • If you are living with HIV and also have Hepatitis C, you are at increased risk for serious, life-threatening complications. All persons living with HIV should be tested for Hepatitis C by their doctors. Hepatitis C can also complicate the management of your HIV.
  • If you’re African-American and living with HIV, you’re at twice the risk of Hepatitis C infection.

What To Consider Before Joining A Clinical Trial

Living with Hepatitis C: A Survivor

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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Related Conditions And Causes Of Hepatitis C

Other types of viral hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, D, and E.

Hepatitis A and E are generally acquired from contaminated food and drink, while hepatitis B and D are transmitted via bodily fluids. You can only get hepatitis D if you already have hepatitis B.

Though viruses are the most common causes of hepatitis, there are also forms of nonviral hepatitis, including:

  • Alcoholic hepatitis caused by prolonged alcohol abuse, per the Mayo Clinic
  • Autoimmune hepatitis, in which the immune system attacks healthy liver cells, per the NIDDK

Avoid Alcohol And Drugs

One of the most important jobs of your liver is to break down drugs and alcohol. If you have hepatitis C, one of the best things you can do is to avoid substances that may harm your liver, such as alcohol and illegal drugs. If you have cirrhosis, you also may need to avoid certain medicines.

If you use illegal drugs or drink alcohol, it is important to stop. Being honest with your doctor about your drug and alcohol use will help you deal with any . If you dont feel that you can talk openly with your doctor, you may want to find a doctor you feel more comfortable with. If you want to stop using drugs or alcohol and need help to do so, ask your doctor or someone else you trust about drug and alcohol treatment options.

Because many medicines can stress your liver, talk to your doctor before you take any prescription or over-the-counter medicines. This includes herbal remedies as well.

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I Have Hepatitis C And I’m Thinking About Having Children What Should I Know

Hepatitis C does not prevent a man or woman from having children.

The hepatitis C virus infection does not cause infertility in either sex–it does not affect a woman’s ovarian or uterine function, or a man’s sperm production or sperm characteristics.

If you are a woman with hepatitis C, talk to your provider about treatment before pregnancy. Treatment before pregnancy can help reduce the risk of hepatitis C transmission to your baby. If you are already pregnant, treatment will usually take place after pregnancy and you may need to be tested for hepatitis C again prior to starting treatment.

If you are a man with hepatitis C, talk to your provider about being treated prior to conceiving. Although the risk of transmission during sex is low, it is still important to treat hepatitis C for your personal health.

Living With Hepatitis C

Living with HCV: The Journey

Everyone deserves to be looked in the face and understoodto the best of our abilities

Being the vulnerable human beings we all are, we assume things about chronic conditions such as hepatitis C. We assume it is a disease of Baby Boomers, of people who use needles. Ultimately, its something that wont happen to us.

Because of such myths, many patients fall through the cracks. As health care providers, nurses, case managers, or whatever the title, we think of ourselves as community educators. We talk and talk while patients look at us with wide eyes, nodding hesitantly. Are we really listening and processing their stories? What can we learn from them?

Hepatitis C in brief

As an infection of the liver that is caused by a virus transmitted through contaminated blood, hepatitis C , if left untreated, can lead to serious, and oftentimes irreversible, liver damage. Until a few years ago, hepatitis C treatment required weekly injections and oral medications that many people living with HCV could not take because of other health problems or unacceptable side effects. But with the bloom of drug options, chronic HCV is now promisingly curable with oral medications that are taken every day for two to three months with minimal side effects, if any.

Access to a cure, however, is still elusive.

Insurance no guarantee

I couldnt attend family functions

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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.

How Common Is Hepatitis C

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 2.4 million people in the U.S. are living with hepatitis C.

In 2016, just under 3,000 cases of acute hepatitis C were reported, but experts believe hepatitis C infections are significantly underreported.1 The number of acute cases is estimated to be nearly 14 times higher than reported. That would put the number of HCV cases in 2016 closer to 41,000.1

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What To Do After A Needlestick Injury

If you pierce or puncture your skin with a used needle, follow this first aid advice immediately:

  • encourage the wound to bleed, ideally by holding it under running water
  • wash the wound using running water and plenty of soap
  • do not scrub the wound while youre washing it
  • do not suck the wound
  • dry the wound and cover it with a waterproof plaster or dressing.

You should also seek urgent medical advice to assess your need for PEP or other treatment to reduce the risk of getting an infection.

Hepatitis A And B Vaccines

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There are vaccines to protect against hepatitis A and B. The CDC recommends hepatitis A vaccination for all children ages 12 to 23 months and for adults who plan to travel or work in areas with hepatitis A outbreaks or who have other risk factors. People with chronic hepatitis B or C should also get the hepatitis A vaccine if they don’t already have immunity to the disease. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all infants at birth and for adults who have any of the risk factors we discussed earlier. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.

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Do I Need To Be More Careful In My Sexual Life

The risk of sexual transmission of HCV is very low. Simply protect yourself in situations where blood contact is possible: use condoms during periods of menstruation , in case of genital infections , of lesions of the sexual organs. Outside of these situations, when we live in a stable relationship, we have sex without a condom.

If we have multiple sexual partners, condoms are always recommended, primarily to protect themselves from infection by other infections .

Who Should Be Tested For Hepatitis C

  • All people born between 1945 and 1965
  • Anyone who has ever injected drugs, even if once or many years ago
  • People with HIV infection
  • People who had a blood transfusion organ transplantation before 1992
  • People who have been exposed to blood on the job through a needle stick or other injury
  • People receiving hemodialysis
  • People who have abnormal liver tests or liver disease

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What If You Test Positive

If a test says you have viral hepatitis, you can take steps to protect the ones you love. For hepatitis A, wash hands frequently. For hepatitis B and C, avoid sharing nail clippers, razors, or toothbrushes. Hepatitis B, and sometimes hepatitis C, can be passed through sexual contact. Make sure everyone in your household gets the hepatitis B vaccine. An important step is to see a specialist to discuss treatment options.

Treatment: Chronic Hepatitis C

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The latest drug to be approved by the FDA is glecaprevir and pibrentasvir . This medication offers a shorter treatment cycle of 8 weeks for adult patients with all types of HCV who donât have cirrhosis and who have not been previously treated. The length of treatment is longer for those who are in a different disease stage. The prescribed dosage for this medicine is 3 tablets daily.

There are several other combination drugs available, as well as some single drugs that may be used in combination. Your doctor will choose the right one for you depending on the type of hepatitis C you have, how well your liver is functioning and any other medical problems you may have. Also be sure to discuss your insurance coverage since these medications are expensive.

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How To Tell A Partner About Having Hcv

Sharing a persons HCV status can be stressful and scary. A person may want to be upfront about their condition when they begin dating. Others may feel more comfortable building trust in their relationship before talking about their HCV.

A person may feel more comfortable telling their partner in the presence of a healthcare professional. Speaking with a healthcare professional may help put a persons partner at ease if they have any questions or concerns.

Having information from reliable sources at hand can help a person quickly answer any questions their partner may have.

Being honest about an HCV diagnosis allows a persons partner to take precautions to avoid contracting it.

Symptoms Of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C often doesnt have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged. This means many people have the infection without realising it.

When symptoms do occur, they can be mistaken for another condition. Symptoms can include:

  • flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and a high temperature
  • feeling tired all the time
  • loss of appetite

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Will A Person Who Has Hepatitis C Ultimately Need A Liver Transplant

Undiagnosed and untreated hepatitis C can damage the liver to the point where a person could need a transplant. Not every person will develop advanced disease from hepatitis C.

But because we cant always predict what will happen over time, the safest course for most people is to modify anything that can injure the liver before they have advanced disease. This includes curing the virus before there is extensive disease.

What Should You Do To Protect Your Liver If You Have Hepatitis C

Healthy Living â Protect Yourself from Hepatitis C Poster â Well Warehouse

Following a healthy lifestyle reduces the risk of hepatitis C progressing to cirrhosis and liver failure. These healthy habits may help you slow the diseases advancement: Dont drink alcohol. The most important thing you can do if you have hepatitis C is to not drink alcohol. Alcohol can cause further liver damage.Achieve or maintain a Body Mass Index less than 30. As your BMI increases, your risk of fatty liver increases. If you have hepatitis C and fatty liver, you increase your risk for cirrhosis, liver failure and the need for a liver transplant.Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk of developing cirrhosis and liver failure.Participate in moderate-intensity physical activity. In one study, 60 minutes of daily walking improved liver function in people with liver disease.Lowering the C LevelsUT Southwestern researchers have been involved in clinical trials on hepatitis C since the virus was discovered in 1989. Consequently, our liver specialists remain on the leading edge of effective treatment for the disease.If youre at risk for hepatitis C, get tested as soon as possible. We cant stress enough the importance of early detection. If you test positive, consult a liver specialist for further evaluation and treatment. With improvements in treatment, the public health emphasis on cleaning up the blood supply and universal precautions for handling blood, its possible that within the next 20 years, hepatitis C will become rare and complications from it even rarer.

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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.

You Will Develop Severe Symptoms If Left Untreated

While hepatitis C infection can start off silently, untreated hepatitis C comes out roaring. Some people will develop symptoms down the road including tiredness, and , , and occasionally and skin, , and light-colored stools. These nuisance-like symptoms can seriously damage your quality of life. And hepatitis C doesnt stop there. Left untreated, it will progress and cause more serious and potentially fatal liver disease.

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How Is Hepatitis Diagnosed

Chronic hepatitis can quietly attack the liver for years without causing any symptoms. Unless the infection is diagnosed, monitored, and treated, many of these people will eventually have serious liver damage. Fortunately, blood tests can determine whether you have viral hepatitis, and if so, which kind.

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