Your family and friends mean well, but what they say about hepatitis C isn’t always right — or helpful!
We asked people who are living with hepatitis C to share the most bothersome things people they know have said about the virus. Here’s a sampling of what they said… and what they could have said.
Like other health conditions, hepatitis C can have few (if any) noticeable effects. In most cases, people with hepatitis C are symptom-free for a long time. But even if your friend looks fine, it’s always a good idea to check up on them and ask how they’re doing.
How someone contracted the hepatitis C virus is a personal matter. The virus is transmitted mainly through blood. Sharing drug needles or other drug materials is the most common way to contract the virus. About 50 to 90 percent of people with HIV who also use injected drugs have hepatitis C.
It’s a misconception that people with hepatitis C can’t be in a normal, healthy relationship. The virus is rarely transmitted sexually. This means that a person with hepatitis C can continue to engage in sexual activities, as long as they’re in a monogamous relationship.
Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus that can’t be contracted or transmitted through casual contact. The virus cannot be transmitted through coughing, sneezing, or sharing eating utensils. Making an effort to learn more about hepatitis C will show your friend that you care.
Unlike hepatitis A or B, there are no vaccines for hepatitis C. That doesn’t mean hepatitis C isn’t treatable and can’t be cured. It just means that treatment can be more difficult. Treatment often begins with a combination of medications, and can last anywhere from 8 to 24 weeks.
About 75 to 85 percent of people who contract hepatitis C will develop chronic infection. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can lead to liver damage and liver cancer.
That doesn’t mean you or your friend should give up hope. A new class of drugs, called direct-acting antivirals, target the virus and have made treatment easier, faster, and more effective.
Looking for more hepatitis C support? Join Healthline’s Living with Hepatitis C Facebook Community.