Who Is At Risk For Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C virus (HCV), the virus which causes hepatitis C, is spread primarily through blood-to-blood contact. This virus can be spread by contact with bodily fluids other than blood as well, such as semen and saliva, but it is less likely.
The risk of acquiring hepatitis C through sexual intercourse is increased for people who:
- Are HIV positive
- Have sex with multiple partners
- Don't use protection, such as condoms, or don't use them properly
- Have rough sexual intercourse
- Are positive for another STD
Others who are at risk include:
- Intravenous (IV) drug users, especially those who share needles
- Intransal drug uers
- Infants of infected mothers, who can acquire the disease during birth
- Individuals born from 1945-1965 are 5 times more likely than other adults to test positive for Hepatitis C
Complications Of Hepatitis C
There are two forms of the hepatitis C infection: acute and chronic. The acute form of hepatitis C can go away on its own in some cases but most people who are infected develop chronic hepatitis C. This is a very serious disease, and one that is readily treatable with antiviral medication. Many people don’t know that they are infected, which can turn a curable illness into life-threatening liver failure. Identifying chronic hepatitis C infection and, if necessary, administering proper treatment is of the utmost importance.
Many people who are chronically infected will develop liver cancer or cirrhosis of the liver. Complications from hepatitis C can include liver damage, liver failure or even death. Hepatitis C is the leading reason for liver transplants in the United States.