What Is Hep C?
Hepatitis C (Hep C) is a serious viral disease that is spread mainly through blood-to-blood contact.
There are six main types of Hep C, known as genotypes.
Regardless of the genotype, Hep C can cause severe and permanent damage to your liver if left untreated. But each genotype can also be cured.
In recent years, there have been more deaths related to Hep C than to HIV.
Who Has Hep C?
An estimated 2.4 million people are living with Hep C in the US.
Though many are Baby Boomers (born between 1945-1965), anyone can get Hep C, and many people don’t even know they have it.
The number of young people with Hep C is growing, mainly due to the opioid epidemic.
In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that all adults ages 18 and over get tested for Hep C.
How Hep C Is Spread
There are many ways Hep C can be spread, including:
Being the recipient of a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
Using recreational drugs that involve needles or straws
Receiving needlestick injuries in healthcare settings
Using unsterilized tattoo equipment
Sharing personal items such as razors or toothbrushes
Engaging in sexual contact with a person infected with Hep C
Why the Liver Is Important
Your liver is like a filter with a very important role in your health.
The liver keeps the nutrients your body needs and gets rid of the toxins it doesn’t.
Hep C attacks the liver and, over time, affects how well it does its job.
You can live with Hep C for years without knowing it, but the damage is still happening and can even be fatal.
Hep C is a major cause of liver transplants and liver cancer. However, treating your Hep C could help put a stop to the damage.
The longer you wait, the more Hep C can harm your liver.
Liver With Scarring
Advanced Liver Damage
Symptoms of Hep C
Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
Genotypes: The Hep C virus has at least 6 different types, each with its own unique genetic makeup, called “genotypes.” Genotype 1 is most common in the US, and all genotypes can be cured.
Opioid: Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. Opioids can be highly addictive and should only be taken as prescribed by a healthcare provider.