(HCV; Hep C)
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- Injecting illicit drugs, especially with shared needles
- Receiving a blood transfusion before 1992—this risk is very low in the United States.
- Receiving blood clotting products before 1987
- Receiving an HCV-infected organ transplant
- Long-term kidney dialysis treatment
- Sharing toothbrushes, razors, nail clippers, or other personal hygiene items that have HCV-infected blood on them
- Being accidentally stuck by an HCV-infected needle—a concern for healthcare workers
- Frequent contact with HCV-infected people—a concern for healthcare workers
- Body piercing
- Having sex with partners who have hepatitis C or other sexually transmitted diseases—this is most common in men who have sex with men.
- Loss of appetite
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
- Darker colored urine
- Loose, light, or chalky colored stools
- Abdominal pain
- Aches and pains
- Joint pain
- Cigarette smokers may suddenly dislike the taste of cigarettes
- Severe fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Blood tests—to look for hepatitis C antibodies or genetic material from the virus (antibodies are proteins that your body has made to fight the hepatitis C virus)
- Liver function studies— to initially determine and follow how well your liver is functioning
- Ultrasound of the liver—to assess liver damage
- Liver biopsy —removal of a sample of liver tissue to be examined
- Interferon—given by injection
- Ribavirin —given orally
- Protease inhibitor
- Do not inject illicit drugs. Shared needles have the highest risk. Seek help to stop using drugs .
- Do not have sex with partners who have sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Practice safe sex (using latex condoms ) or abstain from sex.
- Limit your number of sexual partners.
Do not share personal items that might have blood on them, such as:
- Manicuring tools
- Pierced earrings
- Avoid handling items that may be contaminated by HCV-infected blood.
- Donate your own blood before elective surgery to be used if you need a blood transfusion.
American Liver Foundation http://www.liverfoundation.org
Hepatitis Foundation International http://www.hepfi.org
Canadian Liver Foundation http://www.liver.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Chang MH, Gordon LA, Fung HB. Boceprevir: A protease inhibitor for the treatment of hepatitis C. Clin Ther . 2012 Sep 10. pii: S0149-2918(12)00490-0. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2012.08.009. [Epub ahead of print]
Hepatitis C. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HCV/index.htm . Updated March 14, 2011. Accessed October 15, 2012.
Hepatitis C. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . September 10, 2012. Accessed October 15, 2012.
Sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus among HIV-infected men who have sex with men—New York City, 2005-2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep . 2011 Jul 22;60:945-50.
Sexually transmitted diseases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm . Updated August 31, 2012. Accessed October 15, 2012.
What is a blood transfusion? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/bt/ . Updated January 30, 2012. Accessed October 15, 2012.
What I need to know about hepatitis C. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hepc%5Fez/ . Published April 2009. Updated May 10, 2012. Accessed October 15, 2012.
- Reviewer: Kim Carmichael, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -