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Hepatitis C Treatment Program

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Hep C Facts
Testing
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Hep C Facts

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What is hepatitis C?

HEPATITIS C VIRUS HCV. Medical Report Hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing Drugs for hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment hcv hepatitis c virus liver disease

Hepatitis C is a contagious blood-borne virus that causes liver inflammation and kills liver cells, permanently damaging the liver. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Up to 75% of people initially infected with Hepatitis C may become chronically infected—that is, the infection does not clear up within six months. Most people with chronic Hepatitis C do not have symptoms and lead normal lives. However, in 10–25% of people with chronic Hepatitis C the disease progresses over a period of 10–40 years.  There is currently no vaccine for Hepatitis C; however, current medication treatment has demonstrated a 95% cure rate.

What is the difference between Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B,
and Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are diseases caused by three different viruses. Although each can cause similar symptoms, they have different modes of transmission and can affect the liver differently.

Can you get Hepatitis C by getting a tattoo or piercing?

Yes, if the equipment is not properly sterilized or proper procedures are not followed.

Who is at risk for Hepatitis C?

People who…

  • Use(d) drugs and share(d) needles, pipes and other equipment. If you’ve ever experimented (even once) with drugs it’s very important to get tested
  • Received body piercing or tattoos with non-sterile instruments
  • HIV and/or Hepatitis B infected
  • 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 weren’t tested for the Hep C virus
  • Hemodialysis patients or persons who spent many years on dialysis for kidney failure

Can a person get Hepatitis C from a mosquito or other insect bite?

Hepatitis C virus has not been shown to be transmitted by mosquitoes or other insects.

Can I donate blood or organs if I have Hepatitis C?

No, if you ever tested positive for the Hepatitis C virus (or Hepatitis B virus), experts recommend never donating blood or organs because this can spread the infection to the recipient.

What are the symptoms of acute/chronic 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:

  • Fever
  • FatigueLiver cancer. 3D illustration showing presence of tumor inside liver
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or eyes)

How soon after exposure to Hepatitis C do symptoms appear?

If symptoms occur, the average time is 6–7 weeks after exposure, but this can range from 2 weeks to 6 months. However, many people infected with the Hepatitis C virus do not develop symptoms.

Can a person spread Hepatitis C without having symptoms?

Yes, even if a person with Hepatitis C has no symptoms, he or she can still spread the virus to others.

Is it possible to have Hepatitis C and not know it?

Yes, many people who are infected with the Hepatitis C virus do not know they are infected because they do not look or feel sick.

What are the long-term effects of Hepatitis C?

75% of people who have Hepatitis C could potentially develop chronic liver disease and liver cancer. 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

 

Testing

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There is no referral required to visit a specialist at CATC. Our Hepatitis C test has up to three parts:

Step 1: An initial test determines if you have ever been exposed to the virus. Being exposed does not necessarily mean that you have Hep C. If this test is negative, no further testing is required.

Step 2: If you have been exposed, a second test detects what strain of Hep C you have been infected with (genotype) and how much is in your blood stream (viral load). The virus may also be undetectable which means that it’s either too early to detect it or that your body has cleared the virus on its own.

Step 3: If a viral load is detected, a scan is completed to identify how much fibrosis is in the liver. This is followed by your Hep C Specialist appointment and then your treatment can begin right away – often within just one week.


 

Treatment

Bearded man in Scandinavian sweater takes pill during virtual doctor session. Middle-aged man suffers from high blood pressure. In the monitor physician in white hospital uniform shows his blood pressure graph. The man receives a telemedicine care

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The new Hep C treatment option includes taking one pill per day that has 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.

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