Types of STIs
Hepatitis C Virus
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is found in the blood of persons who have this disease. HCV is spread by contact with the blood of an infected person.
Most people who get hepatitis C have no symptoms at all, but those who do might experience:
- Muscle and joint aches
- Abdominal discomfort
- Dark urine or light-colored stool
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes)
- Injection drug use accounts for more than two-thirds of all new infections in the United States.
- HCV can be spread by sex, but this is rarer. If you are having sex with more than one steady sex partner, use latex condoms* correctly and every time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
What are the long term effects?
Of every 100 persons infected with HCV about:
- 55-85 of persons might develop long-term infection
- 70 persons might develop chronic liver disease
- 5-20 persons might develop cirrhosis over a period of 20 to 30 years
- 1-5 of persons might die from the consequences of long term infection (liver cancer or cirrhosis)
- Hepatitis C can lead to the need for a liver transplant.
- HCV positive persons should be evaluated by their doctor for liver disease.
- Interferon and ribavirin are two drugs licensed for the treatment of persons with chronic hepatitis C. Interferon can be taken alone or in combination with ribavirin. Combination therapy, using pegylated interferon and ribavirin, is currently the treatment of choice.
- Combination therapy can get rid of the virus in up to 5 out of 10 persons for genotype 1 and in up to 8 out of 10 persons for genotype 2 and 3.
- Drinking alcohol can make your liver disease worse.
National Center for Infectious Diseases
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF, however, does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Alter, M. (2002). Prevention of spread of hepatitis C. Hepatology, 36, S93-S98.
Edlin, B. (2002). Prevention and treatment of hepatitis C in injection drug users. Hepatology, 36, S210-S219.
Harm Reduction Coalition (1999). Hepatitis A, B, & C. The Straight Dope Education Series. New York, NY
NIH Consensus Statement (2002). Hepatology, S3-S20.
Quackenbush, M. (1997). Hepatitis C: Viral Hepatitis. ETR Associates, Santa Cruz, CA.
STD Wizard - It takes 5 minutes to find out if you need to be tested for an STI such as hepatitis, HIV or Chlamydia.