Myths and facts about hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is an increasingly common but often misunderstood disease. Researchers did not identify the hepatitis C virus until 1989, but since that time, a huge amount of knowledge has been amassed about the disease. Unfortunately, myths keep some people from getting tested who could benefit from it while others let misinformation impact their attitudes about the condition. If you or someone you love has hepatitis C, your doctor can explain the facts about the condition so you have a better understanding what it is. Don’t let these myths impact your knowledge about hepatitis C.

Myth: Hepatitis C is a terminal disease.
Although hepatitis C is a serious diagnosis, most people with the disease live long lives. It is true that 10 to 25% of people with the disease can develop serious and potentially fatal liver complications, but being diagnosed with hepatitis C does not mean that you have a terminal illness.

People with hepatitis C can do many things to improve their health, including:

  • Seeing physicians regularly to monitor the disease progression
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Following the recommended treatment plan
  • Exercising daily

Myth: Hepatitis C is an STD.
There are some instances in which hepatitis C is transmitted via sexual contact, but research has indicated a 0-3% of passing the disease on during sex in heterosexual couples. The rate is slightly higher among homosexual men, but most people with hepatitis C got the disease from blood-to-blood exposure.

Some people believe that hepatitis C can be transmitted through air or salvia, but it cannot. Sharing utensils and drinking glasses, hugging, and other forms of casual contact will not expose anyone to the disease.

Myth: Hepatitis C cannot be treated.
There is no cure for hepatitis C, but there are many medications that can help manage the progression of the disease. Not everyone needs to be on medications, but there are treatments available if your physician determines that you could benefit.

Hepatitis C medications have a reputation for having significant side effects, but these can be managed by working closely with your physician.

Living a healthy life with hepatitis C is possible. Contact Riverside Community Hospital to get a referral to a physician in Riverside who can help you get the care you need. Dial (951) 788-3463 for more information.

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