What is Hepatitis C?

 

Hepatitis C or (HCV) is known as a liver disease with varying degrees of severity, ranging from acute to chronic hepatitis. This illness is usually spread by infections through small amounts of blood exposure. This can occur through unsafe injection practices, unreliable health care, unscreened blood transfusions, and/or sexual practices that lead to blood exposure. An individual who happens to have a chronic case is statistically at a higher risk of developing cirrhosis or liver cancer. Around the globe, we have an estimated 71M people with hepatitis c infection. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2016, approximately 399, 000 people died from this disease, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). The good news is that antiviral medicine serves as a cure to over 95% of hepatitis C cases, which drastically lowers the risk of death associated with cirrhosis and liver cancer. Research has been ongoing to increase treatment options against this illness. 

If you happen to be unsure whether or not, you may be at risk...consider getting screened. Early diagnosis can prevent health conditions that are a direct result of the transmission of the virus. 

The World Health Organization recommends the following practices to prevent being infected by this disease:

  • Safe and appropriate use of health care injections
  • Safe handling/disposal of sharps and waste
  • Testing of donated blood for HBV and HCV
  • Hand hygiene, surgical hand preparation
  • Ensuring health personnel are adequately trained

 

Be mindful of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • joint pain
  • jaundice (yellowing of skin/ eyes)

 

In this current time, the World Health Organization is focusing its efforts on highlighting the need to increase both domestic and international funding to scale up hepatitis prevention, testing and treatment services, to reach their goal of taking treatments to the next level by 2030.

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