How Do You Get Hepatitis C?
An important question to ask about this infection is “how do you get hepatitis C?” The answer to this will allow you to reduce the risk of contracting it.
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease that affects the liver and causes a variety of dangerous side-effects that range from diabetes to cancer. The consequences of this infection are often deadly if it’s not stopped in time. Unfortunately, doing this is extremely hard as hepatitis C symptoms can go unnoticed for decades. With the disease spreading in your liver, restoring the organ’s function may be impossible after a prolonged exposure.
In essence, hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. This means you can get it through contact with infected blood. However, the actual transmittance mechanics are more complicated and there are many factors you need to be aware of in order to protect yourself from the disease. Considering that the side effects of hepatitis C has claimed over a million of lives per year in North America alone, learning how to prevent it is a must for everyone.
How Do You Get Hepatitis C: What to Look Out For
First of all, it’s important to understand that the primary method of transmission of hepatitis C in the developed world differs from that of the regions that have the highest level of this particular disease (Central Africa and some regions of Asia). In the US, Europe, and Canada, the most common transmission route is intravenous drug use.
As for the developing countries, the high levels of hepatitis C spread are mostly caused by the epidemic rate of the disease and poor medical practices. It’s also essential to know that in over 20% of cases, the method of transmittance is impossible to determine. Researchers still fail to answer whether this infection can manifest spontaneously. It is proven that in a small percentage of cases, it can disappear on its own with no treatment at all.
Despite decades of study, hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains an enigma. Unfortunately, this means that even the most thorough preventative practices do not offer a 100% guarantee that one would be able to avoid contracting the disease.
As the hepatitis C symptoms are difficult to notice and may take years to manifest, screening is essential for people exposed to the virus in any way.
How Do You Get Hepatitis C?: The Basics
As the virus is transmitted through blood, any contact with it may lead to infection. The usual transmittance routes include:
Intravenous Drug Use
According to several studies, the number of people suffering from hepatitis C in developed countries is the highest among intravenous drug users. In some of the countries, over 80% of this population group are infected.
A simple needle is the #1 hepatitis C “weapon” that infects millions of people. Whether it’s inserted for the purpose of administering a drug, medication, or tattoo ink, a non-sterile needle is extremely dangerous. Therefore, the most important hepatitis C prevention rule you must remember is to ensure no non-sterile needles come anywhere near you.
Intravenous drug use is responsible for over 1.5 million reported hepatitis C cases in the US. It’s also believed that this is one of the major factors explaining why the number of infected people in prison is 10-20 times greater than the general population.
Professional Exposure to the HCV
This type of hepatitis C transmission is mostly associated with healthcare workers and volunteers who are exposed to the infection in some way. The researchers working with the virus directly are also at risk of contracting hepatitis C. In addition to the healthcare workers directly involved with the patients, professionals dealing with organ transplants and blood transfusions also fall into the high-risk group.
Medical workers should be the first to ask ‘how do you get hepatitis C?’ because it’s not only syringes that pose a risk of transmission at a medical facility. Things to watch out for include but aren’t limited to:
- Mucosal exposure to blood (this particular risk is low)
- Multiple-use medication vials
- Infusion bags
- Poorly sterilized surgical equipment
How Do You Get Hepatitis C from Organ Transplants and Blood Transfusion?
Canada initiated the hepatitis C screening program for transfusion blood and transplant organs only in 1990, and the US followed in 1992. This means that all people who underwent these medical procedures before this time should take a hepatitis C test to ensure that they are free of the virus.
As hepatitis C symptoms may take decades to show, the possibility of being a disease carrier is high. Remember that this virus gets more difficult to treat with every passing year. As it causes gradual liver failure, scarring left by the disease may not disappear even after defeating the infection itself.
Anyone who received blood transfusions or organ transplants in different, especially developing, countries should take the test as well. The hepatitis C antibody test is highly accurate and should be able to catch the infection in the later stages of its development, regardless of whether the symptoms have manifested.
Please note that the screening program does not eliminate the risk of infection through blood transfusion or organ transplants by 100%. It takes between 11 and 70 days of exposure to the infection for a person’s blood to test positive for HCV. Therefore, if the potential donor undergoes screening during this period, the virus will remain unnoticed.
Sexual Intercourse with an HCV Positive Partner
There is some controversy surrounding how do you get hepatitis c through this particular method of hepatitis C transmission. On one hand, there isn’t any conclusive evidence that the virus can be transmitted via sexual intercourse.
On the other hand, there are registered cases of sexual partners contracting the disease. It’s believed that sexual contact that involves a higher level of physical trauma may be the cause of transmission.
However, using a condom during intercourse with an HCV positive partner is believed to provide sufficient protection.
How Do You Get Hepatitis C Through Body Modification?
Unfortunately, the sanitary standards in the body modification industry are lower than that of healthcare. Therefore, the risk of contracting the infection through a tattoo machine or some other tool used for body modification is generally higher. It’s also stated that it increases with larger tattoos. This is considered the primary reason to why the number of HCV positive prison inmates is so high.
If you want to get a tattoo or undergo any other similar procedure and reduce the risk of hepatitis C, be sure to do this only in a licensed facility that uses sterile equipment.
How Do You Get Hepatitis C from Sharing Personal Items?
While you can’t usually contract hep C by drinking from the same cup or eating from the same plate as the infected person, some personal items pose a high risk. They include but aren’t limited to:
- Razors (any kind)
- Manicuring and pedicuring tools
These items present a danger because they can be contaminated with blood and not sterilized sufficiently afterward.
It’s imperative to ensure your beauty parlor either sterilizes or uses single-use tools in order to stay safe from the infection as you can’t be 100% sure other clients of the place are HCV negative.
‘How do you get hepatitis C?’ is one of the important questions all future mothers should ask. They also need to take the test in order to determine if they are infected. Hepatitis C medications are inadvisable during pregnancy, so the treatment of the mother usually cannot start before the delivery. Therefore, the doctors must be notified of the risk in advance.
The HCV virus is usually transferred to the baby during labor, but the baby may also be infected during gestation. The transmission mechanism for hepatitis C and pregnancy remains unclear.
HCV positive mothers are also advised against breastfeeding as the infection may be transferred if the woman’s nipples crack and bleed.
How NOT to Get Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C virus is NOT spread through the following channels:
- Eating utensils
- Holding hands
However, you should remember that the most important precautionary measure for hep C is to avoid any and all contact with blood that can possibly be infected. As long as you can avoid coming into physical contact with the blood, the risk of contracting HCV is low.
Healthcare workers, in particular, should be glad to know that the risk of hepatitis C transmittance through a needle-stick injury is only about 1.8%.
Preventative Measures for Living with an HCV positive Person
People suffering from hepatitis C can lead fulfilling lives if they abide by certain rules to prevent spreading the infection.
- Cover any blisters and cuts with bandages immediately and dispose of all tissues and other tools used to clean and bandage them personally.
- Dispose of all napkins, tampons, and other sanitary items covered with your blood personally.
- Clean every object that came into contact with your blood thoroughly by using antibacterial soap and water.
- Any spilled and dried blood must be cleaned as soon as possible and the surface should be sterilized with the appropriate solutions.
- Avoid sharing personal items and make sure all the patient’s razors, toothbrushes, etc. are clearly marked.
There is no hepatitis C vaccine at the moment, so only preventative practices can reduce the risk of contracting the disease.
Hepatitis C Treatment Guidelines
One of the most common questions regarding this virus other than “How do you get hepatitis C?” is “Is there a hep c cure?”
Luckily, the answer is ‘Yes’ in the majority of cases. The success rate of the treatment depends on several factors, the most important of which are:
- Hepatitis C virus genotype
- Length of exposure to the virus
- Side effects of hepatitis C
Depending on the genotype, the success rate may vary from 40 to 99%. However, every additional week of exposure reduces this chance. Therefore, immediate testing is essential for catching the disease early.
Don’t forget that the virus may not show up on the antibodies test right away. Therefore, repeated screening might be necessary.
If the infection has progressed to the point of cirrhosis, a liver biopsy might be necessary to determine the extent of liver damage.
One needs to understand exactly what is hepatitis C and what it does to the body in order to determine how the side effects of the virus affect the progression of the disease.
Hepatitis C treatment is based on anti-viral medications, including:
The length of the course usually ranges from 12 to 48 weeks. Your doctor has to determine the specific hepatitis C type in order to choose the right combination of drugs.
In some situations, a hep C treatment course may also include surgery and a liver transplant. This happens mostly when the disease causes cirrhosis or liver cancer, which results in acute liver failure.
What Is The Best Hepatitis C Drug?
At the moment, the #1 hep C drug in the USA and Canada is Harvoni . It’s an anti-viral medication based on ledipasvir and sofosbuvir and treats the most common HCV genotype 1 with a success rate of 93-99%.
The drawback of this drug is that it takes the hepatitis C treatment costs to the extremely high level of over $90,000. This is the price of the medication alone, without the added costs of drugs that deal with the infection side effects, doctor visits, etc.
As such, a huge number of HCV positive patients cannot access this cure. However, today they can use a new hep C drug, a generic replacement to Harvoni. The efficiency of generic ledipasvir and sofosbuvir has been tested by the relevant medical and pharmaceutical institutions. This means that you can really save a huge amount of money if you choose this option over the Harvoni brand name.
The generic treatment will cost only about $700 per course and offers high rates of recovery, like a top quality anti-viral medication should.
If you want to find out more information about this new hepatitis C treatment visit our Shop page. We’ll gladly provide you with more information and show you how do you get hepatitis C medications cheaper! You can try generic Harvoni risk free with our 100% money back guarantee!