Hepatitis C (HCV)

Hepatitis C (HCV) - Hep C

Hepatitis C (HCV) is quickly outstripping Hepatitis B as the most common form of chronic hepatitis in the world.

Hepatitis C, unlike other forms of hepatitis, leads to chronic infection in over 80% of cases and chronic liver disease in over 70% of infected people.

Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood or other body fluids. Hep C appears to be particularly hardy and can be transmitted indirectly, for example, a razor or a toothbrush may contain minute, but infective quantities of the virus.

Transmission of Hep C is often as a result of drug use, and may account for over 50% of cases; from 'shooting up' using shared needles, or surprisingly, through the sharing of cocaine-snorting straws via the transfer of blood from tiny hemorrhages caused by snorting the drug.

Poor hygiene practices at acupuncturists, tattoo or body / ear-piercing establishments have all contributed to the spread of the virus.

Transmission of hepatitis C through sexual contact is rare, though there is strong evidence that sexual contact is one mode of transmission. Therefore, barrier contraception (using condoms) is to be encouraged.

Although hepatitis C was suspected to exist, it was only as late as 1989 that a reliable blood test was developed and therefore anyone who received a blood transfusion prior to 1993 may have contracted the virus. The rate of infection via blood transfusion during this period is estimated to be around 10%.

Groups who remain at risk of contracting the virus are those whose occupation or lifestyle brings them into regular contact with the blood or body fluids of infected people.

Hepatitis C Symptoms

It should be noted that 80% of people who become infected with hepatitis C (hep C) will show no symptoms until the later stages of chronic liver disease have developed, which may take many years.

Symptoms of hepatitis C may include any or all of the following:

  • fatigue
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • dark urine
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eye)

Hepatitis C (HCV) Treatment

There is no vaccination available for hepatitis C.

Treatment for chronic hepatitis C is currently interferon and ribavirin.

 

 

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (ms) is the most common, disabling, neurological condition, to affect young adults in the world today.

Human Papilloma Virus

Human Papilloma Virus (hpv) is the virus responsible for causing genital warts, a sexually transmitted infection. HPV can be transmitted through vaginal, oral and anal sex. Rarely, hpv can be spread by indirect contact, for example, using a towel after someone who is infected... Read More