What is it?
Hep C is a contagious liver disease that can range from mild illness to a serious, life-long condition. It can be transmitted sexually, but is most often transmitted through contaminated needles.
How common is it?
An estimated 3.2 million persons are chronically infected with HCV in the United States. There are an estimated an estimated 17,000 new Hepatitis C virus infections each year.
What are the symptoms?
Most HPV infections have no symptoms. Some people may experience illness like fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain and jaundice, a yellow color to the skin and eyes.
How do you get it?
Hepatitis C is spread when infected blood enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most infections occur through sharing needles or other drug equipment. It can be transmitted sexually, but the risk is not high.
How do you treat it?
There is no medication for acute Hep C, which means a short-term infection, but rest and fluids are prescribed. People with chronic Hep C should be monitored carefully for liver disease and there are several medicines available for treatment.
What are the consequences if left untreated?
Chronic Hepatitis C can result in long-term health problems, including liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer, or even death.
Get Yourself Tested
Anyone who has had sex may be at risk for an STD, even when there are no symptoms. Talk to your health care provider about testing.
Can it be prevented?
There is currently no vaccine for Hep C. Risk of the getting Hep C is cut by not injecting drugs, and using condoms every time if you have sex. Abstaining from sex and sexual contact is the surest way to avoid getting an STD.
If you are sexually active, using condoms consistently and correctly, from start to finish, is one of the best ways to help prevent STDs. Condoms are the ONLY method that protects sexually active people from both STDs and pregnancy.