Hepatitis is one of the most common infections and the virus can exist in A, B, C, D, or E strain. Among all these, Hepatitis C infection typically damages the liver and many of them lose their lives to it. For this reason, HCV was long considered a silent killer.
HCV has affected more than 71 million individuals only in the year 2015. And this number is increasing every year. The stories on HCV being incurable are true if the patient is not diagnosed or treated on time. An untreated infection can cause cirrhosis of the liver and reduces the chances of a complete recovery.
In the early stages, HCV is almost invisible. For this reason, U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended using a one-time HCV test for all adults. It is also recommended for all pregnant women as a routine test.
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Interestingly, if the virus manifests itself in the early stages in the form of fatigue, nausea, pain, fatigue, jaundice, or related conditions, it increases the chances of getting timely treatment and recovery. However, the virus may silently remain inside the body and hit it hard once a time that it shows up as liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
HCV is highly contagious and exposure to an infected person’s blood can easily transmit the virus. This transmission could take place through simple things like ineffective sterilization of medical tools, re-using an injection, using a contaminated razor to blood transfusion. HCV can also be transmitted through unsafe sex or through poor sanitation during delivery. An infected pregnant mother can also spread it to her unborn baby, but transmission through breast milk is highly unlikely.
Although there is no vaccine to prevent HCV available right now there are many treatment options that may relieve the condition. The first priority is somehow given to the prevention plans which include safe sanitation, personal hygiene, and safe sex practices.
The medical experts suggest people be more compassionate towards HCV patients and end the stigma attached to it. It is a disease after all and just like all other diseases, it is affected by physical and mental health.
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Despite the medical advancements and epidemiological studies, the HCV cases are at a peak. A study from Public Health Reports reports that Gen X has the highest rate of hepatitis C infection. Some of the factors involved in its high transmission risk are; misinformation, delayed diagnostic, fear, social stigma, and poor quality of life. But it doesn’t mean that this disease is incurable.
Hepatitis C virus is treatable if it is diagnosed on time and treated by a certified clinician. Doctors encourage people to show an empathetic behavior towards HCV patients so that they don’t ignore their symptoms. The cases of HCV will slow down when society would accept it as a disease and not a shameful thing. It requires public awareness as well as national and international support to make it happen.