Hepatitis C (HCV) is a liver disease. If you get it, you may get ill right away, think you have the flu, get over it, and forget about it. But if you're like most of us, it doesn't go away, but hides in your body, unless you get tested for it. You may have few, if any, symptoms for 15 to 25 years. Then by the time you realize something is wrong and go to the doctor because of it's symptoms, it will have already damaged your liver and maybe more. I say maybe more, because your liver is a cleaning filter. When it doesn't work like it should it puts undue stress on your other body parts, and sooner or later THEY start to weaken and not work as well as they should.
So...It is absolutely urgent for you to get tested for HCV if:
* You received blood before 1990
* You have been tattooed
* You have been into snorting and sharing
* You have been into intravenous drugs and sharing
* You have shared a toothbrush with someone who has HCV
* You have been involved in bloody sex with a partner with HCV
* You could possibly have touched the blood of someone with HCV
* You are worried that there is some chance that you may have HCV
The above items are important because Hep C is transferred by BLOOD ONLY.
It is Hepatitis A that you hear about on TV when someone working at a restaurant is found to have it, and everyone is urged to get a shot. With Hep A, you would probably get quite ill, get treated, then get well.
Hepatitis B is a little harder to get, but worse. You can pick up Hep B through fecal matter of another person with Hep B. Hep B can usually be cured. But for a few, it becomes chronic. For them, it can be as bad, if not worse than, Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is the hardest to get, and the most serious. As I said, you can have it & not know it until it has already been chronic for years. And Hep C is usually chronic, meaning that it lasts more than 6 months. At present, the only treatment for Hep C involves interferon, either by itself or with another ingredient. Interferon is an old cancer chemotherapy technique. It's side effects can be debilitating...In fact even fatal, if you're unlucky. And it's success rate is dismal.
BUT....I have had Hepatitis C for nearly 30 years, and I'm still kicking. Not as high as I used to, but still kicking. So don't despair. AND...Now that Hep C is getting the attention of pharmacuetical companies, etc., I expect there to be a cure before too long. Maybe not soon enough to do me any good, but soon enough to help you.
I'm not going to try to say any more about Hep C, even though it consumes a huge part of my life. This is because others have already done such a wonderful job that I had rather refer you to them.
My favorite place for Hepatitis C information is Hepatitis Central (TM) by Vikki Shaw, located at the Delphi Forums site. To get to Delphi Forums, go to:
or just click on the place below. Once you get there, look for the item marked "Health and Wellness" along the left side and click on it. Then look for Hepatitis Central (TM) and click on it. I believe you may have to register with a name nobody else has come up with, as well as a password. Anyway, once you get to Hep Central, look for a little tab near the top that says, "Webpage" and click on it. Then just start reading and clicking. There are a lot of subjects along the left side...more than you can imagine. They also have a "bulletin board", a "chat room" and other goodies.
There a number of other links concerning Hep C on my page of "These Are Some of my Favorite Things (Links).