FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

"To Relieve Suffering In The Hepatitis-C Community"

Can Hepatitis C be spread within a household?
It's not likely Hep-C will be spread within a household. Hep-C is only spread blood to blood so things that may contain blood are razors, fingernail clippers, toothbrushes. Even if blood isn't visible on these items it could be there so best to put these items out of reach from
kids, and separate from spouses.
 
Who should be tested for Hepatitis-C?
Everyone with blood…(Keep in mind I'm a radical advocate on this one   <3 ).
 
Is Hepatitis-C sexually transmitted?
Theoretically, blood can be transferred during sex, but it is unlikely. Rough sex, men with HIV, and multiple partners increase the incidence of Hepatitis-C transmission during sex.

If I have recently been diagnosed with Hepatitis-C who should I tell?

You're not required to tell anyone, however, it's a good idea to tell your Doctors and Pharmacists. This is to determine treatment and to make sure your current medicines are safe for your liver. Other than that, it's up to you. Stigma can be real, but support can be real and helpful too. Perhaps consider online forums where anonymity is an option. 

Why does the CDC recommend all Baby Boomers, people born between 1945 and 1965  be tested for Hepatitis-C?
Because Baby Boomers are 5 times more likely than the general population to have Hepatitis-C. Part of this is due to the fact that until 1992 our blood supply wasn't being screened, tattoos used to be unsterile, and many soldiers were given inoculations with Ped-O-Jet guns. 

How should blood spills be cleaned from surfaces to make sure that Hepatitis C virus is gone?
Any blood spills — including dried blood, which can still be infectious — should be cleaned using bleach. Hepatitis-C can live outside the body for up to 3 weeks, particularly inside a syringe.  Gloves should be worn when cleaning up blood spills.

How long does the Hepatitis C virus survive outside the body?
The Hepatitis C virus can survive outside the body at room temperature, on environmental surfaces, for up to 3 weeks.

What are ways Hepatitis C is not spread?
Hepatitis C virus is not spread by sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing. It is also not spread through food or water.

What is Hepatitis-C?  
Hepa means liver and Titis means swelling, so Hepatitis literally means swelling of the liver. There are many forms of Hepatitis, but Hepatitis-C is a particular virus that attacks the liver.

What are some Hepatitis-C Symptoms?
Hepatitis-C can be asymptomatic for years or even decades, so relying on symptoms is NOT an effective way to determine status. That being said, the 2 most common symptoms of Hepatitis-C are fatigue and joint pain.

Is there a Vaccine for Hepatitis-C?
No there are vaccines for Hep-A and Hep-B, but there is no vaccine for Hepatitis-C.

Where should I get current information about Hepatitis-C?  
It's important to be very careful when searching the internet about Hepatitis-C. Make sure the info you are reading is current. Hepatitis-C information has changed dramatically over the last couple years because of new treatments, lab tests, and procedures.

My Provider drew blood if I had Hep-C wouldn't it show up in the lab results?

No, the test for Hepatitis-C is very specific and not routinely run. If you don't specifically ask your Provider to test you for Hepatitis-C, then you likely haven't been tested.

How soon after diagnosis should I be treated?
Hepatitis-C is a serious Liver Disease and can lead to cirrhosis, cancer and even death if left untreated, however, Hepatitis-C moves fairly slowly so there is no need to run to the Emergency Room, or make an urgent trip to the Dr's office. Perhaps making an appointment with your Dr. within weeks of diagnosis or screening is best.


What is the risk of a pregnant woman passing Hepatitis C to her baby?
Hepatitis C is rarely passed from a pregnant woman to her baby. About 6 of every 100 infants born to mothers with Hepatitis C become infected with the virus. However, the risk becomes greater if the mother has both HIV infection and Hepatitis C.

I heard the Hep-C treatment is very harsh is that right?
No, you likely heard about the old treatment courses for Hepatitis-C, it often involved injections and pills that caused severe side effects. In October 2014 the FDA approved the first combination pill to treat Hepatitis-C since then several more antivirals are now on the market. These new drugs usually involve one pill a day for 12 months, the side effects are minimal and cure rates are up to 99%.


Some people are at increased risk for Hepatitis C, including:

  • Current injection drug users (currently the most common way Hepatitis C virus is spread in the United States)
  • Past injection drug users, including those who injected only one time or many years ago
  • Recipients of donated blood, blood products, and organs (once a common means of transmission but now rare in the United States since blood screening became available in 1992)
  • People who received a blood product for clotting problems made before 1987
  • Hemodialysis patients or persons who spent many years on dialysis for kidney failure
  • People who received body piercing or tattoos done with non-sterile instruments
  • People with known exposures to the Hepatitis C virus, such as
  • Health care workers injured by needlesticks
  • Recipients of blood or organs from a donor who tested positive for the Hepatitis C virus
  • HIV-infected persons ​
  • Children born to mothers infected with the Hepatitis C virus