Hepatitis C FAQ
Please be aware that decisions regarding patient’s care will be made during a consultation with a Clinician.
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A. To use a male condom correctly, follow these steps: - carefully open the foil packaging that the condom is wrapped in, taking care not to tear the condom - hold the tip of the condom between your forefinger and thumb to make sure it is put on - the right way round, and that no air is trapped inside (the condom may split if air is trapped inside) - place the condom over the tip of the penis - while squeezing the tip of the condom, roll it down over the length of the erect penis - if the condom will not unroll, it is probably on inside out – start again with a new condom as there may be sperm on it. For more information visit this page: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception-guide/pages/how-do-i-use-condom.aspx
A. To use a female condom, follow these steps: carefully remove the female condom from its packaging, taking care not to tear it place the closed end of the condom into the vagina, holding the soft inner ring between your forefinger or middle finger and thumb use your other hand to separate the folds of skin (labia) around the vagina, then put the squeezed ring into the vagina put your index or middle finger or both in the open end of the condom until the inner ring can be felt and push the condom as far up the vagina as possible, with the outer ring lying against the outside of the vagina the outer ring of the condom should rest closely on the outside of the vagina at all times during sex – if the outer ring gets pushed inside the vagina, stop and put it back in the right place make sure that the penis enters the condom – take care to ensure that the penis does not go between the condom and the wall of the vagina For more information on contraception visit this page: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception-guide/pages/how-do-i-use-condom.aspx
A. For a step-by-step guide, please visit this wikipage: http://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Condom
A. Sexual health line on 0300 123 7123 for confidential information and advice on sexual health Worth Talking About on 0300 123 29 30 for advice on contraception, sexual health and relationships (Mon-Fri 2pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 2pm-4pm) Brook on 0808 802 1234 for confidential sexual health information and advice for young people under 25 (Mon-fri 11am-3pm) You can also read and download leaflets about all STIs from the FPA website, or google sexual health and read other professional health sites for general information.
A. There were 10,873 reported new cases of Hepatitis C in England during 2012, but the true figure is probably much higher. It is estimated that around 215,000 people in the UK have Chronic Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is more common in men than women as men are more likely to inject drugs. The hepatitis C virus is particularly concentrated in the blood of an infected person, so it's usually transmitted through blood-to-blood contact. Some examples of ways blood can be transferred include: - sharing razors or toothbrushes - sharing unsterilised needles - for example, while injecting drugs It's estimated that up to 49% of people who inject drugs in England are thought to have Hepatitis C. It's not only regular drug users who are at risk. People who have only injected drugs once in their life have been known to develop Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C can be transmitted through sex, although this is very rare. The risk may be higher among men who have sex with men. Wearing a condom with a new partner is advised. Hepatitis C is more common in certain parts of the world, including North Africa, the Middle East and Central and East Asia, and this is thought to result from the use of shared needles for vaccination or medical treatment.
A. Hepatitis C is diagnosed with two blood tests: - the antibody test - the PCR test The antibody test: This blood test determines whether you have ever been exposed to the hepatitis C virus by testing for the presence of antibodies to the virus. Antibodies are proteins produced by your immune system to fight invading particles, such as viruses, when they enter your bloodstream. The test will not show a positive reaction for some months after infection. This is because your body takes time to make these antibodies. If the antibody test is negative but you have had symptoms, or you have been exposed to hepatitis C, you may be advised to have the test again. A positive test (showing antibodies) indicates that you have been infected at some stage. It does not necessarily mean you are currently infected, as you may have since cleared the virus from your body. The only way to tell if you are currently infected is to have a second blood test, called a PCR test. The PCR test This blood test checks if the virus is still present by detecting whether it is reproducing inside your body. A positive test – often reported as "detectable" or "detected" – means that your body has not fought off the virus, and the infection has progressed to a chronic (long-term) stage. Test results usually come back within two weeks. It is recommended that the following groups of people should be tested for Hepatitis C: - ex-drug users - current drug users - people who received blood transfusions before September 1991 - recipients of organ or tissue transplants before 1992, or in countries where Hepatitis C is common - babies and children whose mothers have Hepatitis C - anyone accidentally exposed to the virus (needlestick or splash injury), such as health workers - people who have received a tattoo or piercing where equipment may not have been properly sterilised - sexual partners of people with hepatitis C - people who have lived or had medical treatment in parts of the world where Hepatitis C is more common – high risk areas include North Africa, the Middle East and Central and East Asia If you continue to engage in high-risk activities, such as injecting drugs frequently, then regular testing may be recommended. Your GP will be able to advise you. Other tests and referral: If you have the virus, your GP may recommend other tests to check for damage to your liver. These include liver function tests, which measure certain enzymes and proteins in your bloodstream that indicate whether your liver is damaged or severely inflamed. Your GP will also refer you to a specialist centre for an assessment and to discuss treatment. The specialist will ask for more checks to assess the extent of liver damage, including blood tests and ultrasound scans of the liver and abdomen. Many centres are now using a fibroscan (a type of ultrasound) to check for liver damage and scarring. The amount of liver damage can also be assessed by taking a sample of your liver tissue for examination. This is called a liver biopsy and involves passing a hollow fine needle through the skin into your liver. The cells are then examined under a microscope to assess the amount of liver damage and cirrhosis (scarring). The specialist will advise you about the need for a liver biopsy. However, a biopsy is not always necessary before treatment.
A. You can become infected with hepatitis C if you come into contact with the blood of an infected person. The blood has the highest concentration of the virus, so exposure to infected blood is the easiest way to get the virus. Just a small trace of blood can cause an infection. The virus can survive outside the body in patches of dried blood on surfaces for at least 16 hours, but no longer than four days (at room temperature conditions). Injecting drugs: Injecting drugs is the most important risk factor for hepatitis C in the UK. Up to 49% of people who inject drugs in England are thought to have hepatitis C. The infection can be spread by sharing needles and associated equipment. Injecting yourself with just one contaminated needle may be enough to become infected. Cocaine: There have also been reports of people catching hepatitis C when sharing bank notes or straws to snort cocaine. Cocaine can damage the inside of the nose, leading to bleeding. It's possible to then inhale contaminated blood and become infected. Less common causes include... Unprotected sex: Hepatitis C may be transmitted during unprotected sex (sex without using a condom), although this risk is considered very low. The risk of transmission through sex may be higher among men who have sex with men. The risk is also increased if there are genital sores or ulcers from a sexually transmitted infection, or if either person also has HIV. The best way to prevent transmission of hepatitis C through sex is to use a male condom or female condom. However, as the risk is very low for couples in a long-term, stable relationship, many choose not to use a condom. If your partner has Hepatitis C, you should be tested for the condition. Blood donations before September 1991: Since September 1991, all blood donated in the UK is checked for the hepatitis C virus. If you received blood transfusions or blood products before this date, there is a possibility you were infected with hepatitis C. Blood transfusions and treatment abroad: If you have a blood transfusion or medical or dental treatment overseas where medical equipment is not sterilised properly, you may become infected with hepatitis C. The virus can survive in traces of blood left on equipment. Sharing toothbrushes, scissors and razors: There is a potential risk that hepatitis C may be passed on through sharing items such as toothbrushes, razors and scissors. Equipment used by hairdressers can pose a risk if it has been contaminated with infected blood and not been sterilised or cleaned between customers. However, most salons operate to high standards, so this risk is low. Tattooing and body piercing: There is a potential risk that hepatitis C may be passed on through using tattooing or body piercing equipment that has not been properly sterilised. However, most tattoo and body piercing parlours in the UK operate to high standards and are regulated by law, so this risk is low. Mother to child: There is a small chance that a mother who is infected with the hepatitis C virus will pass the infection on to her baby. This can happen in around 2% of cases. However, the risk is thought to increase if the mother also has HIV or particularly high levels of the virus. Needlestick injury: There is a small (approximately one in 30) risk of getting hepatitis C if your skin is accidentally punctured by a needle used by someone with hepatitis C. Healthcare workers, nurses and laboratory technicians are at increased risk because they are in regular close contact with blood and bodily fluids that may contain blood.