What is Hepatitis C?
The word hepatitis means “liver inflammation”.
Hepatitis C is caused by a virus, HCV, which is primarily transmitted via the blood. Discovered in 1989, this virus is highly resistant and can survive two days in the open air. However, hepatitis C evolves slowly and, in the majority of cases, progression resulting in chronic illness and death can be avoided.
Hepatitis C is therefore sometimes benign, only affecting the patient several weeks after infection. This is called acute hepatitis. However, it can also progress over time and develop into a long-term illness. This is called chronic hepatitis.
In its severe forms, hepatitis C can even develop into cirrhosis or liver cancer. That said, new treatments available have allowed a recovery rate of 95% to be achieved in people affected by hepatitis C.
Population affected by Hepatitis C
In general, the inmate population is a high-risk group. In fact, 25% of people in prison will be affected by hepatitis C. Intravenous drug users also represent a high-risk population. In fact, 60% of them are affected by hepatitis C.
In addition, the cases of co-infection with HIV and hepatitis C are numerous: one in three HIV-positive people is also infected with hepatitis C.
Currently, unlike with hepatitis A or B, there is no vaccine to protect against hepatitis C. Research for a vaccine to stop the spread of this affliction is ongoing.
In any case, treatments for hepatitis C exist and are administered, depending on how far the illness has progressed. A silent illness, hepatitis C needs to be diagnosed early so that it can be treated quickly and effectively.
I have Hepatitis C
The chronic nature of hepatitis C may lead to the patient or family and friends having questions. It is sometimes difficult to stick to treatment even when you are not suffering strong symptoms.
For this reason, it can sometimes be useful, in parallel to “traditional” researching for information, to share your experience with other people facing the same daily questions and doubts, such as those concerning new treatments available, medical care or even the impact of hepatitis C on work and family life.
For more information you can go to the Hepatitis C Forum.
For further information:
Published 3 Dec 2018