Myths About Hepatitis C

Myths About Hepatitis C

myths-about-hepatitis-c-hero-imageThis article is clinically reviewed by Brittany Domm, R.P.N  

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes inflammation and damage to the liver. It is mainly spread through contact with an infected person’s blood, such as sharing needles for injection drug use or getting a blood transfusion. While viral hepatitis is one of the more severe liver diseases, it’s also treatable. Fortunately, most people can go on to live a healthy life while living with the virus. 

However, there are many myths and misconceptions about the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) that can lead to both confusion and fear. In this article, we’ll discuss FAQs about Hepatitis C and debunk some of the most common myths about the virus. We’ll also provide accurate information on how it’s transmitted, who should get tested for it, prevention and control, and more. 

Is Hepatitis C Rare?

Although many people don’t know they have the virus, Hepatitis C is not as rare as one may think. It’s estimated that around 250,000 people in Canada are living with viral hepatitis. While it is more common among certain groups, such as injection drug users and those born between 1955-1975, anyone can be infected with Hepatitis C through contact with an infected person’s blood. 

couple sharing a drink

Is Hepatitis C Spread Through Casual Contact (Like Sharing Drinks, Kissing, etc)?

It’s important to know how Hepatitis C is NOT passed from one person to another. It cannot be spread through coughing or another form of casual contact, like touching hands, using toilet seats, breastfeeding, or sharing food or drinks. The virus does not survive long outside the body either, so transmission by environmental means is very unlikely. Although it is important to mention that Hepatitis C can be transmitted by coming in contact with the blood supply of an infected individual.

Once You’ve Had Hep C, Can You Get it Again?

Once you have been infected with Hepatitis C and had successful treatment for it, your risk of getting reinfected again goes down drastically. However, there’s still a chance of being reinfected if exposed to the virus again. This means that regular testing should occur after any potential exposure even if you have previously tested negative for the infection. 

Is There a Vaccine for All Types of Hepatitis?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a vaccine available yet that covers all types of hepatitis viruses—including type A and B—which are also very common infections found globally today. However, research continues to develop vaccines for these strains too.  

As far as treatments go, there are many prescription medications available on the market to treat the symptoms associated with Hep C. Some more targeted treatments also show promising results in eliminating the virus altogether, although they do come alongside minor side effects related to its use, such as fatigue, headaches, and nausea. 

Do Hepatitis C Medications Have Severe Side Effects? 

Many people think that Hepatitis C medications have bad side effects, but this isn’t necessarily true. While there may be some side effects with certain medications, such as fatigue or headaches, most of the time they are mild and manageable. The newer medications on the market are also showing very positive results in effectiveness, with up to 95% of people achieving a sustained viral response (SVR) after completing their treatment. 

Can You Tell By Looking At Someone if They Have Hepatitis C? 

One of the biggest myths about Hepatitis C is that you can tell if someone is infected just by looking at them. This could not be further from the truth. Most people with the virus won’t even know they have it, since it usually doesn’t cause any symptoms in the early stages. The only way to know if someone has Hepatitis C is by getting tested for it. 

Hepatitis C Treatment Options With Canadian Addiction Treatment Centres 

We hope these myths and FAQs about Hepatitis C have helped you get a better understanding of the virus. It’s severe and potentially life-threatening, but fortunately, it can be managed with proper treatment. Our Canadian Addiction Treatment Centres (CATC) team offers a comprehensive treatment program for those living with this virus and needing help. With locations across Canada, CATC provides access to an experienced team of professionals that specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and control of Hepatitis C. 

Learn More About Hepatitis C Treatment

At CATC, our patients have access to tests for hepatitis, medication management, lifestyle modifications, psychotherapy sessions, educational resources, and more. The goal is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life, as well as help individuals learn how to manage their condition over time. Patients also receive support from peers who understand liver diseases like hepatitis, which helps them stay motivated throughout treatment. 

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C—or believe they may be at risk for infection—then please contact Canadian Addiction Treatment Centres today with your questions or to get started. We’ll provide you with more information on our services and ultimately can help you get your life back on track.