About Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a virus that infects the liver and can, if left untreated, lead to serious and possibly life-threatening damage to the liver. It is spread through contact with contaminated blood — such as through sharing needles, razor blades or toothbrushes. It can also be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy. Very rarely, it is also possible to contract hepatitis C through having unprotected sex.
Hepatitis C is most commonly seen in individuals who have, at one time or another, injected drugs.
If you are at risk of picking up any sexually transmitted infections, then it is highly advisable to be tested and treated without delay. Early treatment reduces the risk of complications in the future.
If there is any risk of being infected, even if you don't have any symptoms, it's best to get tested right away. Early detection increases the efficacy of treatment and reduces the risk of serious complications in the future.
If the test is positive, then you may need further testing to see if you have picked up any other infections. At Cosmopolitan Medical Clinic, our doctor or nurse will provide you with impartial and confidential advice based on your sexual history and symptoms, and recommend the most appropriate screening / testing.
There is no vaccination for hepatitis C. In order to prevent or reduce your risk of contracting the disease, avoid risky behaviours such as sharing drug-injecting equipment like needles, syringes or spoons. Avoid sharing toothbrushes or razorblades that may have been contaminated with blood.
Although it is very rare to get hepatitis C through unprotected sex, the risk is higher if menstrual blood is present. You could also catch it from bleeding during anal sex. People with new sexual partners are most at risk — take precautions when having sex (anal or otherwise) with a new partner.
Treatment for hepatitis C usually involves combining two or more antiviral medications, usually for between 12 to 48 weeks.
Treatment is generally very effective and with newer medications, the cure rate can be more than 90%. A person who has been successfully treated <strong>is not immune</strong> however, and can get hepatitis C again. It is therefore very important to maintain preventative measures, to prevent re-infection or spreading the disease to others.