Living with Hepatitis C
A simple blood test can determine if someone has been infected with the hepatitis C virus, a blood-borne infection. If the result is positive, a second test is needed to confirm the diagnosis, identify the type of hepatitis C virus, and determine the proper course of treatment.
If you are diagnosed with hepatitis C, it’s important to take certain precautions to protect your liver and protect others from the virus.
“The most important thing you can do is stop drinking alcohol because it speeds up liver damage,” says Dr. Chopra. He also recommends seeing a doctor regularly, asking your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications, vitamins or supplements, and getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
Hepatitis C is not spread by kissing, hugging, sneezing, coughing, or sharing food, eating utensils or glasses. Since it can be transmitted through blood, it’s important to cover any wounds and clean all surfaces that come into contact with infected blood. And, don't share razors, toothbrushes or nail clippers.
Are You at Risk?
You may be at increased risk if you have had:
- A blood transfusion before 1992
- Blood-clotting products before 1987
- Long-term kidney dialysis treatment
- Tattoos or body piercings
- Injected illicit drugs, especially with shared needles
- Sex with partners who have other sexually transmitted diseases, or
- You are a health care worker injured by a needle stick
For more information, contact the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases at