What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a contagious, blood-borne virus that causes liver inflammation and kills liver cells, permanently damaging the liver. Hepatitis C infections are more common than you think and can have devastating impacts for individuals in their later years of life. The current treatment options have demonstrated a 95% cure rate.
Treating Hepatitis C
- The new Hepatitis C treatment option includes taking one pill per day with few side effects. The length of treatment may take 8 or 12 weeks depending on the genotype of the virus, your level of cirrhosis, and any previous Hep C treatment.
- If you are concerned that you have been exposed to Hepatitis C, contact CATC right away. Hep C therapy is effective and offers a 95% cure rate.
How to Get Tested for Hepatitis C
There is no referral required to visit a specialist at CATC. Our Hepatitis C test consists of three parts. For more information on Hepatitis C screening, contact us at 1-877-937-2282 or complete the form below. If treatment is required, you can begin right away – often within just one week.
Who Is At Risk for Hepatitis C?
- Use(d) drugs and share(d) needles, pipes or other equipment. If you have ever experimented with drugs it’s very important to get tested
- Received body piercing or tattoos with non-sterile instruments
- Have/had HIV and/or Hepatitis B
- Were born to mothers infected with the Hepatitis C virus
- Were born between 1955 and 1975 and were in contact with poorly sterilized medical equipment (before universal precautions and infection control procedures were adopted)
- Were born outside of Canada
- Have had a blood transfusion before 1992 as blood donations were not tested for the Hep C virus
- Hemodialysis patients or persons who spent many years on dialysis for kidney failure
Symptoms of Hepatitis C
Approximately 70%–80% of people with acute Hepatitis C do not have any symptoms. Some people, however, can have mild to severe symptoms soon after being infected, including:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored bowel movements
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellow colour in the skin or eyes)
How Soon Will Hep C Show Up After Exposure
Many people infected with the Hepatitis C virus do not develop symptoms. If symptoms do occur, the average time is 6–7 weeks after exposure, but this can range from 2 weeks to 6 months.
Can You Be Asymptomatic and Spread Hepatitis C?
Yes, even if a person with Hepatitis C has no symptoms, he or she can still spread the virus to others.
Can You Have Hepatitis C and Not Know It?
Yes, many people infected with the Hepatitis C virus do not realize it because they do not look or feel sick.
Long-Term Effects of Hepatitis C
75% of people who have Hepatitis C could potentially develop chronic liver disease and liver cancer so getting your liver tested is crucial. Long term liver damage (cirrhosis) can have many effects on the body, including:
- Digestion – Painful digestion, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
- Central Nervous System – Confusion, forgetfulness, disorientation, shaking, slurred speech, and even a coma
- Circulatory System – Hypertension, internal bleeding, swollen legs and abdomen, anemia, and type 2 diabetes
- Hair, Skin, and Nails – Hair loss, jaundice, and softened yellow fingernails