What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus carried in the blood and affects the liver. It can also be called Hep C or HCV. One in 5 people infected with Hepatitis C will fight off the infection without treatment and will have no long term effects. Others will usually be offered treatment, which has a very good success rate. A network of services offer help and support to individuals going through treatment.
There is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C.
How do I know if I've got it?
• Hepatitis C can be present in the body for many years with little or no symptoms, it is therefore important to get tested if you feel you might be at risk of Hepatitis C (see list below)
• Most common indicators are flu like symptoms; tiredness, nausea, fever, poor concentration and abdominal pain
How do you get it?
Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood; when an infected person’s blood enters the blood stream of someone else. Hepatitis C is not passed on through; hugging, kissing, coughing, sneezing or sharing cutlery.
Hepatitis C can be passed on by:
• Sharing drug equipment; needles, spoons, filters, syringes,
• Snorting drugs
• Having received a blood transfusion or blood products prior to 1992 in the UK (screening in the UK was introduced in September 1991). Note: Other countries may not screen blood for the Hepatitis C virus
• Tattoos, piercing where equipment is not sterile
• Unprotected sex
• Mother to baby
• Needlestick injury/ dental work and medical treatment abroad
What is the treatment for Hepatitis C?
There is treatment available for Hepatitis C and treatment will depend on a number of factors; how long you have been infected, the health of your liver and the Genotype of Hepatitis C you have. A specialist Doctor and a team of nurses in Hepatology (Hepatitis) can offer help and advice to those who think they may have been infected with Hepatitis C.
Where can I get tested?
Testing for Hepatitis C requires a blood sample.
You can get tested at:
• Your GP practice
• Hepatology Service, 01786 434079
• Local sexual health services
• Signpost Recovery, Alloa, 0845 6731774
• CADS, Community Alcohol & Drug Service, 01786 434430 0r 01324 673670