Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Vancouver, BC
*What is hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is found in the blood of persons who have this disease. HCV is spread by contact with the blood of an infected person.
*Who should get tested for hepatitis C?
* persons who ever injected illegal drugs, including those who injected once or a few times many years ago
* persons who were treated for clotting problems with a blood product made before 1987 when more advanced methods for manufacturing the products were developed
* persons who were notified that they received blood from a donor who later tested positive for hepatitis C
* persons who received a blood transfusion or solid organ transplant before July 1992 when better testing of blood donors became available
* long-term hemodialysis patients
* persons who have signs or symptoms of liver disease (e.g., abnormal liver enzyme tests)
* healthcare workers after exposures (e.g., needle sticks or splashes to the eye ) to HCV-positive blood on the job
* children born to HCV-positive women
*How could a person have gotten hepatitis C?
HCV is spread primarily by direct contact with human blood. For example, you may have gotten infected with HCV if:
* you ever injected street drugs, as the needles and/or other drug "works" used to prepare or inject the drug(s) may have had someone else's blood that contained HCV on them.
* you received blood, blood products, or solid organs from a donor whose blood contained HCV.
* you were ever on long-term kidney dialysis as you may have unknowingly shared supplies/equipment that had someone else's blood on them.
* you were ever a healthcare worker and had frequent contact with blood on the job, especially accidental needlesticks.
* your mother had hepatitis C at the time she gave birth to you. During the birth her blood may have gotten into your body.
* you ever had sex with a person infected with HCV.
* you lived with someone who was infected with HCV and shared items such as razors or toothbrushes that might have had his/her blood on them.
*Can HCV be spread by sexual activity?
Yes, but this does not occur very often. See section on counseling for more information on hepatitis C and sexual activity.
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