FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

  1. What is Hepatitis C?
  2. Hepatitis C is a type of inflammation of liver that is caused by Hepatitis C virus (HCV). 75%-85% of infected people will develop chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C can last a lifetime and lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.

    95% of people living with Hepatitis C are unaware that their blood is infected and remain undiagnosed.

  3. Is Hepatitis C contagious?
  4. Yes, Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. The only way to know if you are infected is to get your blood tested.

  5. How serious is Hepatitis C?
  6. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, if left undiagnosed and untreated. Some of the complications of Hepatitis C include liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer, or even death. It is therefore important to do a Hepatitis C test, especially if you are in the high risk groups. Early detection enables timely treatment and in most cases, it can achieve cure rates above 95%.

  7. What are the symptoms of Hepatitis C?
  8. 80% of people who have Hepatitis C do not develop symptoms. If symptoms do develop, some of the common symptoms include:

    • Fever
    • Fatigue
    • Dark urine
    • Vomiting
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea
  9. How does Hepatitis C spread?
  10. Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct blood-to-blood contact. Your risk is high if you:

    • Received transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products such as red cells, platelets, plasma, etc. prior to 1994.
    • Have body piercings or tattoos using unsterilised equipment.
    • Have or currently injected drugs into your body through the sharing of needles.
    • Are on haemodialysis.

    Hepatitis C does not spread through breast milk, food, water, casual contact and sharing of food or drink with an infected person.

  11. What is Hepatitis C diagnosed?
  12. There are two main blood tests used to diagnose Hepatitis C.

    Test 1: HCV antibody test

    • Your blood is tested for HCV antibodies. If the result is positive, you might have been exposed to HCV. You will have to take a second test to confirm if the virus is still present in your bloodstream.

    Test 2: Lab-based HCV tests
    There are two types of lab-based tests that can be used to confirm if the virus is still present in your bloodstream.

    • HCV RNA Nucleic Acid Test (NAT)

      This test detects HCV RNA in serum or plasma and determines if the infection is active.

    • HCV Core Antigen (HCVcAg) Test

      This test detects the protein produced by HCV. It is newer and less expensive.

    If HCV is still present in your bloodstream, you will require treatment.

    Speak to your doctor today about Hepatitis C test.

  13. What are the differences between HCVcAG test and NAT?
  14. NAT detects HCV RNA in serum or plasma and HCVcAG detects the protein produced by HCV. HCVcAG is newer and less expensive.

  15. Can Hepatitis C be cured?
  16. Yes, Hepatitis C can be cured. With early detection and timely treatment, Hepatitis C treatment can achieve cure rates above 95%.

  17. Can Hepatitis C be prevented?
  18. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent Hepatitis C. It is therefore important to do a Hepatitis C test, if you think you might have been exposed to or infected by HCV.

    If you are infected with HCV, you will require treatment and the goal of treatment is to cure. With early detection and timely treatment, the cure rates can achieve more than 95%.

  19. Will a Hepatitis C patient need a liver transplant?
  20. Undiagnosed and untreated chronic Hepatitis C can lead to severe liver problems, such as cirrhosis, liver cancer and ultimately liver failure.

    Patient are typically considered for a liver transplant when their liver is working at approximately 10-20 percent of what is considered normal.

  21. What are the differences between Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C?
  22. Hepatitis A Hepatitis B Hepatitis C
    Caused by Hepatitis A virus (HAV). Caused by Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Caused by Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
    HAV is found in the feces (poop) of people with Hepatitis A. HBV is found in blood and certain body fluids. HCV is found in blood and certain body fluids.
    It is usually spread by close personal contact, including sex or living in the same household. It can also be spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated with HAV and by travelling to countries where HAV infection is occurring. It is spread when blood or body fluid from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not immune. It is also spread through having unprotected sex or sharing needles with an infected person. The virus is spread through direct blood-to-blood contact and through sharing of needles or having unprotected sex with an infected person.
    Can be prevented through vaccination. Can be prevented through vaccination. There is no vaccine available yet.
    There is no chronic infection. People who have chronic Hepatitis B have a much high risk of liver failure and liver cancer. 75%-85% of infected people will develop chronic infection. People with chronic Hepatitis C have a much high risk of liver failure and liver cancer.
    Hepatitis A
    Caused by Hepatitis A virus (HAV).
    HAV is found in the feces (poop) of people with Hepatitis A.
    It is usually spread by close personal contact, including sex or living in the same household. It can also be spread by eating food or drinking water contaminated with HAV and by travelling to countries where HAV infection is occurring.
    Can be prevented through vaccination.
    There is no chronic infection.
    Hepatitis B
    Caused by Hepatitis B virus (HBV).
    HBV is found in blood and certain body fluids.
    It is spread when blood or body fluid from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not immune. It is also spread through having unprotected sex or sharing needles with an infected person.
    Can be prevented through vaccination.
    People who have chronic Hepatitis B have a much high risk of liver failure and liver cancer.
    Hepatitis C
    Caused by Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
    HCV is found in blood and certain body fluids.
    The virus is spread through direct blood-to-blood contact and through sharing of needles or having unprotected sex with an infected person.
    There is no vaccine available yet.
    75%-85% of infected people will develop chronic infection. People with chronic Hepatitis C have a much high risk of liver failure and liver cancer.

     

    Ask your doctor about a Hepatitis C test, if you think you might have been exposed to or infected by HCV.

  23. Can I donate blood if I have Hepatitis C?
  24. It is recommended that you don’t donate blood or organs, if you ever tested positive for Hepatitis C. This is to avoid infecting the recipient with the virus.

  25. Can I donate blood after I have been cured of Hepatitis C or have spontaneously cleared the virus?
  26. It is recommended that you don’t donate blood or organs, even if you had spontaneously cleared the virus or if you were successfully cured with medication.

  27. Can a man or woman with Hepatitis C still have children?
  28. Yes, Hepatitis C does not prevent a man or woman from having children. The Hepatitis C virus infection does not cause infertility in either sex.