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Hepatitis C: What is it, and how is it treated?

Here’s an overview answering some of the more common questions about hepatitis C.

Although more than 3 million Americans could be living with hepatitis C, far fewer know basic information about the potentially deadly disease. Here’s a quick guide with answers to some of the more common questions about hepatitis C.

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a virus transmitted through the blood that affects the liver. Although about 20 percent to 30 percent of people who contract the disease may clear it without substantial medical issues, most suffer long-term effects, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That can include cirrhosis, a fatal liver disease some associate with alcohol abuse.

A person can live for years without noticing the signs of the disease. Because of this, the CDC says many people don’t know they’re infected. This poses the risk of transmission and of not getting treatment until the disease progresses. There is no vaccination for Hepatitis C.

How do you get hepatitis C?

Essentially any contact where blood can mix with someone else’s blood could lead to transmission. But the most common transmission comes from unsanitary medical practices, said Dr. Cody Chastain of Vanderbilt University. However, the spread is frequently associated with contaminated needles used to inject drugs.

Contamination through tainted needles affects an unknown number of inmates both before and after they arrive in prison, where drugs are obviously still illegal but available, said former prison chaplain Jeannie Alexander. Transmission also is common through tattoo needles and ink; Alexander said many inmates are unaware the disease can live in a tainted ink supply for some time. Transmission through sexual contact is less common with hepatitis C than with HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. But Chastain said it can happen when a person already has HIV, when people engage in “rough” sex or when someone undergoes violent trauma, such as rape or sexual abuse.

Read Full Article: Hepatitis C: What is it, and how is it treated?

Read Full Article: Hepatitis C: What is it, and how is it treated?

The health and medical information on our website is not intended to take the place of advice or treatment from health care professionals. It is also not intended to substitute for the users’ relationships with their own health care/pharmaceutical providers.

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