But how is it transmitted?
There are many ways, and many are often not paid much attention. The medium is infected blood and contact can occur through: a skin injury, sharing of personal care items (such as razors, toothbrushes, manicure or pedicure tools), use of injecting drugs, exchange of needles or syringes,
tattoos or piercings with non-sterile needles, unsafe sexual practices, use of non-disposable instruments (glass syringes or surgical instruments) and infected material (blood, plasma, blood products), blood transfusions or transplants organ that occurred before 1992, accidental contact with infected blood and birth to a mother with hepatitis C.
However, it is wrong to think that hepatitis C affects only the liver: it can be the cause of other important diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, some cardiovascular, renal and neuropsychiatric diseases. The appearance of these disorders could be a sign of hepatitis C, a real alarm bell that should not be underestimated. Treating hepatitis C, however, can reduce the severity of these problems, with positive effects on the quality of life and survival.
Yes, because today hepatitis C is a treatable disease: thanks to the current therapies available, it is possible to eliminate the HCV virus from the body in over 90% of cases. Treating hepatitis C not only does not allow the disease to progress up to cirrhosis or liver cancer, but it can also improve some extrahepatic problems that often occur together with it.
Precisely to provide information on this, the digital campaign “C as curable” was born, to raise awareness of hepatitis C and bring out the undeclared. An initiative born in 2020 to fight hepatitis C even during the pandemic and which continues into 2021.
Through the website www.ccomecurabile.it and digital initiatives, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the infection in all its aspects and to to sensitize people, unaware of having contracted it, to take the test to detect its presence. A fundamental goal to achieve the elimination of the infection, now possible thanks to drugs capable of treating it in almost 100% of cases.
But what does the test consist of? And the cure? We explored the topic with Professor Alessandra Mangia, Head of the Department of Hepatology at the IRCCS House for Relief of Suffering in San Giovanni Rotondo, in the province of Foggia.
We have seen how it is transmitted, but what consequences can hepatitis C have? “Consequence of hepatitis C is a disease that makes the liver unable to function as it should, which is called cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis can, over the years, become complicated with the appearance of liquid effusion in the abdomen (ascites), with the appearance of tumor nodules (hepatocarcinoma) with the presence of abnormal bleeding vessels of the esophagus or stomach (esophageal or gastric varices) or with a state of confusion (encephalopathy) “.
What problems can the submerged entail? “Since the infection is asymptomatic up to the onset of cirrhosis, many individuals do not know they have it. There are also people who in the past have taken a test, but then by choice or by current limitations have not had access to the treatment. It is necessary that these people are identified and treated so that they do not become the reservoir of HCV and pass it on to others “.
How can you diagnose hepatitis C? “The test to diagnose suspected hepatitis C is the test for the antibody that tells us if a person has come into contact with the virus, but does not tell us if they have yet or not the virus.
Only the HCV RNA test tells us if the virus is present at that moment in that person’s liver and blood and therefore must be eliminated with treatment. The antibody test should be requested from the attending physician or the SERD physician. The HCV RNA test to the hepatologist or infectious specialist. The test is carried out through a simple blood sample and is recommended for all people over 50.