What can I do to stay healthy?
There are many things you can do to help you and your liver stay healthy:
- If you can’t quit using tobacco, drugs or alcohol, try to reduce the amount you use – they are very hard on your liver.
- Get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B so your Hep C doesn't get worse.
- Reduce your stress level. Take a break when you need one.
- Get light or moderate exercise to keep fit and give you energy.
- Maintain regular sleeping hours and get enough rest.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables low in fat and sodium.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.
- Practice safer sex.
- Maintain friendships and social contacts.
- Visit your healthcare provider for regular check-ups.
Is there only one type of Hepatitis C?
No there isn’t. There are 6 different types or strains of Hepatitis C, called genotypes, and you can have more than one type at the same time. Therefore, since not everyone has the same type of Hep C, you still need to protect yourself from getting another strain.
Are natural herbs and supplements a safe way to treat Hep C symptoms?
Although herbs and other supplements may seem appealing, a number of them actually cause more harm to your liver, leading to even more severe liver damage and possibly death. It is because of this that HCV positive people are advised to talk to a health care provider before experimenting with any types of herbs.
Can I get treatment for Hep C?
Yes! There is treatment available for all genotypes and require either 1 or 2 pills daily depending on which treatment you are on.
How long does Hep C treatment take?
Treatment length depends on the type of hep C you have. There is treatment available for all genotypes, with the majority of treatment being only 1-2 pills daily. The length of treatment can range from 8 – 24 weeks. Treatment has come a long way. There can be minimal side effects and the success rate of clearing the virus is around 95%.
Can I become re-infected with Hepatitis C after clearing the virus with treatment?
Yes. Treatment does not provide immunity to the Hepatitis C virus.
What is the difference between acute and chronic Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C can be acute or chronic. Acute infection means the person cleared the virus on their own and does not need treatment to clear the virus. 20 – 25% of people who are exposed to hepatitis C clear the virus this way. Chronic infection menas the person was not able to fight off the virus and would need treatment to clear the virus. Whether you cleared the virus on your own or with treatment, you can always get re-infected with the virus. Having the virus previously does not make you immune.
I have chronic Hepatitis C – now what?
Discuss your treatment with your doctor and take steps to live a healthy lifestyle. Hepatitis C can take years or even decades to cause scarring of your liver. Your liver is a very resilient organ.
- hepcinfo.ca - Canada's resource in English and French for Hepatitis C information
- Hepatitis C Advocate
- Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program (OHRDP)
- Harm Reduction Works
What is the difference between Hepatitis A, B and C?
Hepatitis A, B, and C are the three most common types of hepatitis, but these three viruses are quite different. Hep A is a relatively mild viral infection that does not cause a chronic disease and is transmitted by fecal-oral route. Hep B is transmitted by blood, semen or vaginal fluid. Hep C is transmitted by blood to blood only; even dried blood can transmit the virus. Both Hepatitis B and C are serious viral infections that can cause chronic illness leading to liver damage and liver cancer. Vaccines are available for hepatitis A and B, but there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. For more information, please contact one of our Hep C team members in Client Services
How will I know if I have Hep C?
The best way to find out if you have Hep C is to get your tested.
How long after exposure to Hep C does it take to test positive?
It is possible to find Hepatitis C virus within 1 to 2 weeks after being infected with the virus.
How many tests are needed before I’m diagnosed with Hep C?
Two tests are needed. The first test you get done is called the antibody test. This tells you if your body has ever been exposed to the Hep C virus. If this test comes back positive then you need to get a second test done, called the RNA test. The RNA test checks to see if the virus is still active in your body. 20-25% of people are able to fight the virus on their own and it doesn’t progress to the chronic stage.
How long does it take to get test results back?
It will take approximately 1-2 weeks to get results back for your Hepatitis C test.