Lesser Known Facts about Hepatitis C
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is an infection that causes an inflammation of the liver and also infects it. The causative virus is known as the hepatitis C virus. There are many forms of hepatitis C virus; the most common is type 1. None is more serious than the other, but they respond differently to treatment.
Hepatitis C affects people in different ways and has several stages:
- Incubation stage: This is the period between first exposure and start of the disease. It could last from 14-80 days, but the average is 45 days.
- Acute hepatitis C: This is a short term illness that lasts for the first six months after being infected. After that, some person’s body may get rid of it on its own.
- Chronic hepatitis C: This is a long-term infection that happens if your body fails to get rid of the STD within the first six months. It can cause serious health problems like liver cancer or cirrhosis.
- Cirrhosis: This disease triggers inflammation that over time replaces healthy liver cells with scar tissue. It takes about 20-30 years to occur, although it can be faster if you drink alcohol or have HIV.
- Liver Cancer: Cirrhosis likely triggers liver cancer. It has no symptoms at the early stages.
How you can get hepatitis C
This virus spreads via the blood or body fluids of infected persons. Some of the modes of transmission are:
- Having sex with several partners, especially if you have an STD, an HIV infection, or have rough sex
- Sharing injection drugs and needles
- From an infected mother to a child
- Blood transfusion
- Organ transplant.
- Sharing items like toothbrushes, nail clippers and razor blades
You can’t get it through casual contact.
Symptoms of hepatitis C
Usually, there are no symptoms, but between 2 weeks to 6 months, after being infected, you could notice:
- Dark urine
- Clay-coloured poop
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain, etc
Symptoms might persist for 2 to 12 weeks.
There are also symptoms of end-stage liver disease, and they include but not limited to:
- Kidney failure
- Encephalopathy (damaged brain)
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity or the legs
Hepatitis C Testing and Diagnosis
You can get diagnosed at our clinic for this STD. We have very good doctors and facilities for diagnosis. Our medical team at STI Clinic London will check your blood for Anti-HCV antibodies and HCV RNA. As part of diagnosis, we’ll also measure your protein and enzyme levels. The testing equipment and procedures are standard at our clinic.
Hepatitis C has some risk factors that require testing. You’ll get to know about it when you book an appointment with us.
Hepatitis C Treatment
Acute hepatitis C has no recommended treatment. If you have chronic hepatitis c, there are several medications available.
For more information on hepatitis C complications, prevention, medication and treatment, do visit STI Clinic London. We are poised to give you sound medical attention with assured confidentiality and privacy.