An estimated 250,000 Canadians are living with hepatitis C, one-quarter of whom may not be aware that they are carrying this virus.
Hepatitis, also known as the silent killer, attacks the liver and is typically asymptomatic for years, often decades. The US Centre for Disease Control has recommended that all people born between 1945 and 1965 be tested.
While the Public Health Authority of Canada hasn’t yet followed suit, Dr. Mel Krajden, the associate director of the BC Centre for Disease Control, has conceded that this would be a “sensible strategy.”
Transmission occurs through blood-to-blood contact when someone is infected with the hepatitis C virus. While it is most associated with sharing needles for intravenous drug use, there are other ways that the virus can be acquired. Hepatitis C can live in dried blood for up to four days, even in amounts not visible to the eye. Take steps to protect yourself and others; avoid sharing toothbrushes, razors or pedicure/manicure equipment. Have your tattoos and piercings done at a professional establishment which observes stringent health practices. Don’t share needles, straws and other drug use equipment and always practice safer sex.
Treatment is available for hepatitis C and there are ways that you can support your health if you are living with the virus.
For information and local support for hepatitis C contact ANKORS at 250-229-4734 or firstname.lastname@example.org.