Hepatitis C: Myths and Facts

Hepatitis C

A lot of misinformation and negative public opinion surround Hepatitis C. The virus is surrounded by so many misconceptions that it becomes extremely challenging to find the right treatment.  Here, we list down a number of myths that surround the virus and some facts about it so that you know what to believe and what to treat as pure fiction.

Facts

1. You can live a long, healthy life after contracting hepatitis C If you have been told that Hepatitis C cannot be cured, you have been believing a myth till now.  There have been a number of significant advances in the treatment since the disease first came to light. Hepatitis C can be cured if proper treatment is given to the patient. Also, now there are a lot of treatments available that are far less painful than older ones.

2. There are a number of ways in which one can be exposed to the virus a common misconception is that only people who use drugs can get Hepatitis C. But in reality, there a number of ways in which you can exposed to the virus. For instance, anyone who has had a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before 1992, people with HIV, people with hemodialysis for kidneys are at risk too. In fact anyone born between 1945 to 1965 should be tested because it was a time when accurate blood screening protocols were not mandated.

3. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have the symptoms almost 80% of the people who have Hepatitis C don’t develop any symptoms. In fact, even those who have chronic Hepatitis C infection do not show any symptoms till cirrhosis develops. So although the chances of the virus being spread via razors and toothbrushes are low, sharing these must be avoided.

4. It can spread via sexual contact it happens rarely, but there is always a possibility. According to various researches, people who have multiple sexual partners or have a partner infected with HIV have a higher chance of contracting Hepititis C. However, this risk can be reduced by using condoms.

5. Hepatitis C is mostly transmitted through blood hepatitis C cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites and it is not an airborne disease. So you can’t contract it through coughing, sneezing, sharing utensils or being in the same room as the patient. However, it can be contacted while getting tattoos and piercings and using a contaminated syringe or needle. If a pregnant woman is affected by the virus, her baby gets it too.

6. No vaccine is available for Hepatitis C although vaccines are available for hepatitis A and B, scientists are yet to develop one for Hepatitis C.

Myths

1. There is no way of reducing the risk for Hepatitis C there are things that can be done to avoid the risk of Hepatitis C. Always avoid sharing personal care items like razors, toothbrushes and nail clippers. They may come in contact with infected blood and increase the risk of you contracting it. Also, never get tattoos and piercings done from equipment that would have been used on someone else.

2. Herbs like Milk Thistle can cure Hepatitis C it is popularly believed that Milk Thistle is beneficial in treating Hepatitis C. But, what we cannot ignore is the fact that it hasn’t been approved as an alternative medicine. So your doctor must be kept in loop before you begin any herbal treatment.

3.  Nothing can be done if you have chronic Hepatitis C this is a false perception. There are a number of ways to fight Hepatitis C, and the best way for you can only be told by your doctor. However, prior to suggesting a treatment your doctor may ask you to get a biopsy or a liver scan done. Some lifestyle changes may also be suggested to you.

4. You can tell if people have Heptitis C by looking at them no. This is not possible. No one can tell if somebody has Hepatitis C just be looking at them since it is a silent disease. Furthermore, there is only a 20-30% chance that the patient will develop symptoms Heptitis C. Proper tests are necessary to determine this.

5.  There is only one type of Hepatitis C there are actually 6 commonly known genotypes of the virus. To determine the genotype of the virus, blood tests are vital. The genotype is necessary to know before your doctor can decide on the treatment.

6. Hepatitis C cannot be cured contrary to the popular belief, Hepatitis C is curable. And by ‘cured’ we mean that the virus is not detected in your blood even months after your treatment has ended.  But staying in regular contact with your doctor is extremely.

 

 

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