First Let’s Talk About Hepatitis And What It Is
Hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver. The liver helps the body digest food, clean the blood, and fight germs or infections. If the liver is damaged it leads to jaundice and eventually it shuts down which then in order to save the life requires a liver transplant.
There are three types of hepatitis A, B, and C. Each one differs from the other and spread in different ways. The most common type in the US is C and it is also the most common among prison populations.
Hepatitis C Known As The Silent Disease
Hepatitis C is a virus and does extensive damage to the liver; in fact it is one of the top reasons for liver transplants. Most people do not even realize they have Hepatitis C since there are no symptoms. Many people just feel like they have the flu. Sometimes peoples’ body can fight off Hepatitis C naturally by itself. For others they have to go to the doctor and seek medical treatment.
The Most Common Ways Hepatitis C Is Spread
- Blood – the blood of an infected person is exposed to someone who isn’t infected by way of blood spills, drops of blood from a bloody nose, or splatter. The virus can live in dried blood such as on needles or other equipment. The amount of blood doesn’t have to be a large amount to spread the virus; you may not even be able to see it.
- Needles – drug users who share needles, or prison tattooing and piercings.
- Sex – most generally multiple partners or people who have rough sex, or a male having sex with a male as in prison; seem to get hepatitis c more often.
- Tattoos. Piercings, and scaring – Many prisoners get tattoos or piercings while in prison, when they share the equipment for those hepatitis c can be passed to someone who does not have it. While the needle looks clean there is still blood on them from other people that you can’t even see.
Hepatitis C And Prison Populace
There are about 2.2 million people in prisons and jails in the US and 1 in 3 of those have hepatitis c.
- Hepatitis C can be a real problem for people who have been in prison.
- Since many people in prison have hepatitis c it can be a real danger to people who end up in prison with them.
- Prison Officials are more susceptible to catching it than people who work in another form of work such as being a cashier or landscaper.
- Prisoners often catch hepatitis c by sharing drug needles, piercings, and tattoo equipment with others in prison that are already infected.
- Prisoners can also become infected by fighting with another prisoner who already has hepatitis c and exchanging blood during the fight such as cut knuckles and a cut lip.
As you can see hepatitis c is a real concern for prison population as well as the prison guards and officials.