Hepatitis C is a very dangerous virus that causes serious liver damage and can lead to cancer. It is very important to be tested for this disease, and seek treatment immediately if you are infected! Here we put together a list of top 15 facts everyone should know about this infectious disease.

Number One: Hepatitis C is Curable. Contrary to what many popular myths state, Hepatitis C can actually be cured. This is a relatively new phenomenon, thanks to innovative science and research on the subject.

Number Two: Simple Precautions Can Prevent This Virus. If you know you have this virus, there are simple steps you can take to reduce risk of transmission, including refraining from sharing toothbrushes or razors.

Number Three: People Born Between ’45 and ’65 are At Higher Risk. In fact there is a 1 in 30 chance that someone born in this time frame will have the disease. This is because during the 70’s and 80’s, the infection rates were at their highest level.

Number Four: The Virus Can Survive Outside the Body. This is not very common, but if Hepatitis C stays at room temperature, it can survive for quite some time outside of the body, and live on surfaces such as tables.

Number Five: Needles are the Most Common Way People Get Infected. This is typically through tattoo needles, piercing or shooting up intravenous drugs.

Number Six: Chronic Hepatitis C. If people who get Hepatitis C do not treat it as soon as possible, it will develop this long term issue. It can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis, and scarring of the liver.

Number Seven: A Liver Transplant Doesn’t Equal a Cure. A damaged liver is only a result of the virus, not the virus itself. For this reason, even after you get a new liver, you have to take medications to eliminate the virus from your body, and it is possible to become reinfected.

Number Eight: You Can’t Get This Virus Sharing Eating Utensils. This is another common myth. Hepatitis C can only be passed from person to person by way of blood. Unlike other viruses, sharing eating utensils doesn’t put you at risk.

Number Nine: You Cannot Tell if Someone Has It by How They Look. In fact, the only way to know for sure if someone has the virus is by testing. There is only a 20% chance that infected people will even show any symptoms.

Number Ten: People Can Get It From Sex. Although it is very rare, but it’s possible to pass this infection along through intercourse. For this reason, condoms should always be used, and you should trust your sexual partners.

Number Eleven: The Virus Affects Millions of Americans. Almost three million Americans are infected with chronic Hepatitis C. It has been nicknamed the “silent epidemic” because people can have it for 30-40 years and never even know it.

Number Twelve: There is No Vaccine For It. It is not yet available, according to doctors, because there are many different types of the virus, and it is hard to come up with one that is effective against all types. Avoiding high risk behavior is the best way to avoid infection.

Number Thirteen: There are Six Different Types. People typically think there is only one type, but that is not the case. There are different genotypes depending on what kind of blood you have, and the cure you need differs according to this info.

Number Fourteen: You Need Ultrasounds After You’re Cured. If you get a cirrhosis diagnosis from Hep C, you need lifelong liver monitoring, to make sure you don’t get cancer. This involves abdominal ultrasounds every half year.

Number Fifteen: If Your Mom Had It, You Are at a Higher Risk. If your mother ever had Hepatitis C, it is important to get tested for it, as this places you in a category of higher risk for developing it at some point in your life. Thanks for reading!

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