What is hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is an infection caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). It is a disease that causes various kinds of damages to the liver and is extremely contagious. It can be categorized into two: acute hepatitis C, which lasts for some weeks, and chronic hepatitis C, which is a permanent kind of condition.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis C?
The most common symptoms of hepatitis C are fever, joint pains, nausea and vomiting, pains in the abdominal area, strange-colored urine and feces, yellowing of the skin or the eyes, fatigue, and loss of appetite.
How is hepatitis C transmitted?
The most common way to transmit hepatitis C is by the sharing of syringes and needles with a hepatitis C-positive person. Sexual activity with someone who has the infection also puts you at risk of acquiring the virus. A pregnant woman can pass the virus on to her unborn during childbirth.
Who should get tested for hepatitis C?
There are certain groups of people that are more likely to acquire hepatitis C compared to others. These are those that should get hepatitis C-tested:
- Those that inject drugs for recreational purposes are encouraged to get tested for hepatitis C.
- Those that received blood transfusions or underwent organ transplants
- People who have an existing liver disease
- Those that are suffering from HIV
The people mentioned above are at a much higher risk of acquiring hepatitis C. Of course, to be safe, it is always better to get tested for hepatitis C even if you do not belong to any of those categories.
How do people test for Hepatitis C?
Those that want to get tested for Hepatitis C can go to the nearest clinic or hospital in their area and inquire about Hepatitis C testing. A hepatitis C test usually requires a blood sample from the patient. The laboratory staff will examine the blood sample and search for antibodies responsible to fight off the Hepatitis C virus. If traces of these antibodies have been found, it means that you are positive and you should undergo treatment immediately.