Hepatitis was accidentally discovered in 1968, from an antigen in the blood of an Australian aborigine. This accidental discovery leads to the recognition of the Hepatitis virus within the medical world. From that significant milestone, the reported cases of Hepatitis infection continue to rise every year. 

Hepatitis is the general term used to refer to inflammation of the liver, brought about by infectious and non-infectious causes, metabolic diseases and viruses. The first virus that was discovered in Australia was the Hepatitis B virus, which causes liver cancer. Hepatitis C is caused by a Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and is transmitted through direct contact with the blood of an infected person through sharing unsterilized syringe needles and direct transfusion.

What Causes Hepatitis C

Out of the three types of viral Hepatitis infection caused by Hepatitis A virus (HAV), Hepatitis B virus (HBV), and Hepatitis C virus (HCV), a significant ratio of infected people are unaware they are carrying the infection. More or less these three types of viral Hepatitis manifest the same symptoms, and most of the times may ravage an infected person’s liver for years undetected because initial symptoms are typically mistaken for other conditions. However, getting a positive diagnosis for Hepatitis C is not as catastrophic as you imagine. Of the three viral Hepatitis, Hepatitis C infection is the most curable and cured patients have a better chance of living normal life expectancy.

Just a reminder though, in addition to the course of treatment that you have to complete to cure Hepatitis C, you can also help yourself and others by doing these important things:

To stay in good physical condition to survive the progress of infection, try to get plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet.

Avoid further damage to your liver by not drinking alcohol, avoid medications that can cause liver damage (consult a health-care professional to know which drugs induce nonalcoholic fatty liver).

Improve resistance by having yourself vaccinated against Hepatitis A & B if you are not already immune.

How do you get hepatitis c and precautions

  1. Avoid sharing toothbrushes or razors so as not to pass the infection to others.
  2. As much as possible do not to let anyone else come into contact with your urine, feces or blood, the infection can be transmitted through these body fluids and excretions.
  3. Avoid unprotected sex, by using condoms during sexual activity
  4. Be faithful, as much as possible limit your sex partner to only one; your girlfriend, fiancée or wife.
  5. If you use recreational drugs and inject yourself with these drugs, do not share syringes or needles with anyone.
  6. Stay physically healthy, best not to get tattoos or body piercings.
  7. Although this may seem awkward, notify a new partner you have Hepatitis C infection prior to having sex. Your health-care professionals must also be made aware of your infection, so precautions can be taken by them.

These are but just a few recommendations and answers to questions on how do you get Hepatitis C?

What to do if pregnant and you were diagnosed with Hepatitis C prior to your pregnancy?

A pregnant mother diagnosed with Hepatitis C can pass the infection to her child during pregnancy and during delivery. From a study, out of all the mothers who have antibodies to Hepatitis C virus, an approximated 2% transmitted their infection to their child. Out of the mothers who have active Hepatitis C virus infection in their blood during pregnancy, a rough estimate of around 5% transmits the infection to their baby. Bad news for those co-infected with HIV, the risk of transmission goes up to almost 20%.

You should discuss with your doctor and decide if a treatment for Hepatitis C during your pregnancy is possible for your condition.

Now, what kind of doctor organizes treatment protocols for Hepatitis C?

You can go to your primary care provider if you have no symptoms or experience only mild symptoms. However, when treatment is already required, the care should be managed by either an infectious disease specialist, gastroenterologist or a hepatologist. Specifically in patients experiencing progressive infection symptoms. In the eventuality that a liver transplant is already required, a transplant surgeon will be needed.

Following all recommended procedures for infection control in the healthcare settings minimize risk exposures during hemodialysis, due to contaminated needle sticks and equipment. Hepatitis C protective vaccination is not yet available at this time, continued research though in this area is still ongoing.