What Is Hepatitis C?
November 5, 2019
What Is Hepatitis C?
Victory has diagnosed an above-average incidence of Hepatitis C among its substance use disorder patients. When properly diagnosed, this disease can be treated and cured. In fact, over the last year Victory has cured more than 25 patients from this life-threatening disease and incorporated Hepatitis C testing into the core regimen of services it provides patients.
Hepatitis C is a chronic, long lasting virus that infects the liver and is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person. About 2.4 million people in the US have Hepatitis C and most don’t even know they have it.
If Hepatitis C progresses to liver failure, this will result in death if not treated correctly. Moreover, Hepatitis C can lead to liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma), which also can be fatal. While there is no vaccine, there is a Hepatitis C treatment.
There are often no clear, definitive signs of Hepatitis C. Indeed, victims may feel nothing for many years and this disease can go undetected absent administration of specific blood test. Some common symptoms of Hepatitis C disease include:
- Dark urine/grey colored bowel movements
- Extreme fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea / vomiting
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
In addition, Hepatitis C attacks the liver – the largest internal organ in the human body – and if untreated it can cause liver damage or liver cancer.
How Hepatitis C Is Contracted
Hepatitis C is transmitted through infected blood, spread by blood-to-blood contact. Hepatitis C can live outside the body for up to 3 weeks. One can even contract Hepatitis C by coming into contact with very small amounts of infected blood that cannot be seen. Hepatitis C is not spread by casual contact such as hugging, kissing, holding hands, sneezing or sharing utensils.
There are a variety of groups at risk of contracting Hepatitis C including: people getting tattoos/piercings with unsterilized tools, patients undergoing long dialysis for kidney disease, patients with HIV, and ever more frequently today, individuals using unsterile needles or straws in connection with recreational drug use.
Hepatitis C Treatment
The good news is that Hepatitis C can be diagnosed, treated, and cured. In fact, most people are successful with their Hepatitis C treatment just taking pills. Curing Hepatitis C means that the virus is not detected within patients’ blood 3 months after they have completed their Hepatitis C treatment.
Victory Recovery Partners and Hepatitis C Treatment
As noted, substance use disorder patients are subject to higher-than-average risks of contracting Hepatitis C due to use of unsterilized needs and other unhealthy practices connected with drug use
Victory routinely tests patients for Hepatitis C and, through our Wellness Program, we also treat those who are diagnosed with the disease. In fact, over the last year Victory has cured more than 25 cases of this potentially fatal disease while we continue diagnosing and treating more patients every day.
Our goal at Victory is to help patients achieve sustained, lasting recovery and live free from dependency on drugs and alcohol. However, we also recommend the following practices to minimize risks of contracting Hepatitis C:
- Don’t share needles
- Don’t reuse needles
- Don’t share other drug paraphernalia such as cookers, spoons, cotton, and filters
- Only use equipment that can be trusted – from pharmacies or needle-exchange programs