Hep C is a virus that lives in your liver and keep growing. More people are dying of hep C than HIV; yes, you read right! It is a major problem around the world, and sadly a lot of people don’t hear about it and how you can get it.
The reason is that majority of individuals living with hepatitis C do not have symptoms; meaning that they do not know they have the disease, and so cannot be cured.
The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs.
- You can get Hepatitis C is through contact with infected blood
- You have a high risk of getting Hep C if you are HIV +, had blood or organ transfusion (before 1992), on dialysis, and injection drug user.
- If you have it and don’t treat it, you have risk of diabetes type 2, and damage to your liver to the point of cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure.
- If you are living with hepatitis C, experts recommend that you get tested and vaccinated for hepatitis A and B.
- After successful treatment for hepatitis C, you can still be infected again. Ongoing risk factors such as injecting drug use or non-sterile tattooing can result in reinfection.
- You can Hep C by blood-to-blood exposure. The risk of you getting it sexually is low but still possible; especially when blood is present or if there is HIV coinfection
- You only show symptoms of Hep C when your liver has become seriously damaged. That could cause your liver to stop working.
Many people who are infected do not have any symptoms. However, sometimes symptoms do appear such as:
- Fatigue (feeling tired even if you’ve had a normal amount of rest and activity)
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea (upset stomach)
- Abdominal pain (pain in the gut)
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored stools
- Joint pain
- Jaundice (yellow coloring of the eyes or skin)
The good news is that there are short-duration treatments that can lead to cure. So, go get tested, treated and cured of this life-threatening disease.