HEP C 101

Hepatitis C, also called Hep C or HCV, is an infectious disease of the liver. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that leads to a development of scar tissue in the liver. Your liver plays an important role in filtering blood, storing nutrients, and more.

Hep C is considered a silent disease and frequently causes no noticeable symptoms until the liver is damaged by cirrhosis. It can take 10 or more years to occur. Hepatitis C can lead to conditions such as liver disease, cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.Hepatitis C can lead to conditions such as liver disease, cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

Hepatitis C can live outside of the body for substantial amounts of time – days, weeks, or longer depending on the conditions.While there is no vaccine, Hepatitis C is a curable disease and treatment options continue to advance.

Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus spread by direct blood to blood contact. 1/5 people exposed to Hepatitis C will eliminate the virus from their bodies without treatment. This is an acute infection, those that do not eliminate the virus go on to develop a chronic infection. Hep C is not transmitted through casual contact

Transmission methods include:

  • Sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia used for injection or snorting
  • Blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
  • Contact with infected blood or an open sore
  • Accidental needle stick
  • From mother to baby during birth – low risk
  • During unprotected vaginal or anal sex – low risk
  • Abstaining from drug use.
    • If you do inject or snort drugs, do not share your needles, straws, or works.
  • Do not borrow the toothbrush, razor, nail clippers, or tweezers of someone known to have Hep C.
  • Make sure all tattoos and piercings are done at a reputable location that uses sterilized equipment.
  • Condom usage can prevention transmission during intercourse.

A person can get tested for Hep C in only twenty minutes. For more information visit our Get Tested page.

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