To check for hepatitis C, the doctor will test your blood. These tests show if you have hepatitis C and how serious it is.
The doctor may also do a liver biopsy. Biopsy (BYE-op-see) is a simple test. The doctor removes a tiny piece of your liver through a needle. The doctor checks the piece of liver for signs of hepatitis C and liver damage.
How is Hepatitis C treated?
Hepatitis C is treated through shots of medicine called “Treatment” or “Tx”.
Hepatitis C is treated with a drug called interferon alone or in combination with the drug ribavirin.
You may need surgery if you’ve had Hepatitis C for many years. Over time, Hepatitis C can cause your liver to stop working. If that happens, you will need a new liver. The surgery is called a liver transplant. It involves taking out the old, damaged liver and putting in a new, healthy one from a donor.
How can I protect myself?
You can protect yourself and others from Hepatitis C:
- Don’t share drug needles or drug-related equipment, ever.
- Wear latex gloves if you are likely to be in contact with someone’s blood.
- Don’t use an infected person’s toothbrush, razor, nail clippers or anything else that could have blood on it.
- If you are getting a tattoo, or planning to have body piercing or acupuncture, check things out first. Choose a reputable licensed* person to do this for you and make sure that everything is clean.
- NEVER allow anyone to use homemade equipment on you or re-use equipment, including needles, ink or jewelry. Only fresh, single-use, disposable needles must be used and all other equipment must be disinfected and sterile. Cleaning with bleach may not kill the hepatitis C virus.
- If you have more than one sex partner, you should use a condom. Sex partners should be told that the risk of transmission during sexual activity may increase when there are open sores and, if the woman is infected, during her menstrual periods. In general, couples who only have sex with each other should be informed that the risk of hepatitis C being sexually transmitted is minimal but not absent.
- If you have Hepatitis C, don’t give your blood or plasma. The person who receives it could become infected with the virus.
- Cover open sores or breaks in your skin.