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HCV virus

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hepatitis B and C cause more than 1 million deaths a year, more than malaria or AIDS. The infection is the most common cause of cancer and the need for liver transplantation. As many as two-thirds of liver cancer deaths have their origin in a viral infection. 58 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis C virus infection, and each year the number is growing by another 1.5 million new infections. In Poland, about 100,000 people are living with HCV, and another 500,000 are infected with HBV. Both damage the liver, a key organ for our health. There is no effective vaccine against hepatitis C. We can only be vaccinated against HBV.

HBV diagnosis has been available from family physicians for many years. Since July 1, family doctors can order a test to detect HCV infection (anti-HCV) for patients. It is a good idea to ask for a referral for the test during your visit. The spread of these tests reimbursed by the National Health Fund creates an opportunity to eliminate hepatitis C (HCV) in our country. Until now, the infection has been detected incidentally, often at a late stage of development. The drugs available to doctors today make it possible to cure the disease caused by HCV almost 100 percent. Everyone should be tested for HCV at least once in their lives. Unfortunately, so far we have not been very willing to go for this test. And untreated hepatitis C leads to cirrhosis or liver cancer. All patients have free access to state-of-the-art therapies that guarantee a cure for almost all HCV-infected patients and control the proliferation of the virus in HBV-infected patients.

In the case of hepatitis C, only a blood test can determine whether we are infected. Treatment avoids the dangerous complications of hepatitis C. Hepatitis B and C viruses are mainly transmitted through blood, so most infections occur through contact with the blood of an infected person. In addition, HBV can be transmitted from mother to child and there is a risk of transmission during sexual contact. Infection is threatened by any breach of tissue continuity using non-sterile instruments or taking drugs via intravenous or intranasal routes.

HCV infection may not produce any symptoms for many years or produce symptoms that we do not associate with the infection. Therefore, we encourage all those who have never tested for HCV in their lives to get tested. Because each of us is at risk.

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