QS Community Board

Health & Wellness June 26, 2018

Stop the Spread: Hepatitis C Prevention & Safety

Maggie K., Senior Editor

Hepatitis C – a contagious liver disease – affects an estimated 3.5 million people in the United States. The disease can either be mild, lasting only a few weeks, or a serious, lifelong illness.

Hepatitis C is the most common hepatitis virus in the U.S. Some statistics are outlined below:

  • Hepatitis A: 2,500 new infections a year
  • Hepatitis B: 19,200 new infections a year
  • Hepatitis C: 30,500 new infections a year

Community leaders and health care providers can provide the following hepatitis C prevention information to citizens or patients to ensure prevention and control of this virus.

Who can get hepatitis C?

Anyone can get hepatitis C, but high-risk people are those who:

  • Were born to a mother with hepatitis C.
  • Are in contact with blood or infected needles at work.
  • Have had more than one sex partner in the last six months or have a history of sexually transmitted infections.
  • Are on kidney dialysis.
  • Are infected with HIV.
  • Have injected illegal drugs.
  • Have had tattoos or body piercings.
  • Had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992.
  • Have hemophilia and received clotting factor before 1987.

Did You Know? About 75%-85% of newly infected people develop chronic hepatitis C infection.

 

How do you get hepatitis C?

Transmission can happen through contact with the blood of an infected person primarily through:

  • Sharing of contaminated needles, syringes or other drug injection equipment.

Transmission happens less commonly through:

  • Sexual contact with an infected person.
  • Birth to an infected mother.
  • Needlestick or other sharp instrument injuries.

REMEMBER:

About 60%-70% of people with chronic hepatitis C eventually develop chronic liver disease.

 

Reduce Your Risk

There is no vaccine against hepatitis C, but there are ways to make infection with the virus less likely:

  • Don’t share objects that might contain blood, such as razors and toothbrushes.
  • Injection drug users should never share syringes, needles or other equipment.
  • Don’t donate blood or organs if you are infected.
  • Hepatitis C is not commonly spread through sexual contact.

If your partner has the virus, though, using condoms or another latex barrier (like a dental dam) may offer some protection.

Although there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, vaccines do exist for prevention against hepatitis A and B.

Stop the Spread of Hepatitis C

Many people who are infected with hepatitis C don’t know it because they don't look or feel sick, and unknowingly transmit it to others. It’s critical to arm your citizens with important hepatitis C information so everyone can take charge of their own health.

For more information on Health and Wellness products available to purchase for your community, browse the QuickSeries® library of guides, including Hepatitis C for Health Care Providers and Living with Hepatitis C.

feedback@quickseries.com