Much Like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C is a virus that attacks the liver; but unlike Hepatitis B, there is currently no vaccine for Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C can be transmitted during sexual activity, although it is uncommon. However given its very serious nature, we think it’s better to be safe than sorry so we test for Hepatitis C when deemed necessary by our doctors.
Hepatitis C does not always make its victims feel ill when it’s first contracted however some people may experience flu-like symptoms, jaundice (yellow skin tones) and the urine can also go dark in colour. These symptoms usually resolve themselves in a few weeks and a lucky 20-30% of people will actually clear their blood of the infection without treatment within six months. However, the 70-80% of people who do not clear the infection, will have developed Chronic Hepatitis C after six months and that’s when the real symptoms set in. These include tiredness, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, moodiness and depression and joint pain. Long-term Chronic Hepatitis C leads to scarring of the liver, live failure and in some cases liver cancer.
Hepatitis C is also detected with a blood test, but this time we’re looking for a protein that your immune system makes in response to the virus. It’s important to note that anyone who has contracted Hepatitis C and overcome it without treatment will still have the protein in their blood, but you’re no longer infected or contagious, this makes regular testing for Hepatitis C even more important.
A new cure for Hepatitis C was made available to those in Australia last year through The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This was a very positive medical development as there was previously no cure so now is an ideal time to get tested.