Welcome to the show. We have the first-ever interview with Hepatitis. If you don’t know Hepatitis, it’s a disease with many different outcomes and can cause some serious ailments. It’s goes by the name Hep C I am your host Richardo with Monarch, let dive in.
Richardo: Hepatitis, is okay if I call you Hep C and can you tell us about yourself?
Hepatitis: For sure, That’s my nickname. Well, there are many types of me. There Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, etc. Many people have me and know that they do, but I feel sorry for the one who doesn’t know they have me, because they have never been tested and I can live with them for years without any signs or symptoms.
Richardo: Wow! You said a lot. Can we unpack your answer some more?
Hepatitis: We sure can. Where do you want to start?
Richardo: Let’s start with the many types of you?
Hepatitis: So for starters, Hepatitis A spreads, when someone consumes food or water, which contains an infected person’s faeces. It does not cause chronic liver disease, but it may cause liver failure. As far as Hepatitis B, many people do not have any initial symptoms at all. However, over time, they may experience some symptoms. Hepatitis B is spread through infected bodily fluids or blood. It is transmitted from mother to child during birth.
Richardo: I’m starting to see a theme here, Hep A is spread through faeces contaminated food and water. Hep B is spread through blood and bodily fluids. What’s about Hep C?
Hepatitis: Hepatitis C has very few symptoms and that contributes to why a large number of people suffer from it. It is transmitted through blood to blood contact and usually by sharing unclean needles. Hep C can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Richardo: So, what are some symptoms that people should look for or be aware of, when it comes to Hep A, B and C?
Hepatitis: So, people should look out for symptoms like clay-colored faeces, dark urine, jaundice, fatigue, leg swelling, fluid buildup in the abdomen, etc. just remember that not everyone gets these symptoms and they are similar for other infections as well.
Richardo: So basically, the only way to know for sure is to get tested?
Hepatitis: Yes, absolutely.
Richardo: What would you say to people who are experiencing symptoms or have tested positive for Hep C and may be feeling depressed, hopeless or expecting death?
Hepatitis: Well, it is not a death sentence. Treatments are available for people who are diagnosed with Hep C and can be cured within 8 to 12 weeks. There are support services out there that can help with depression and feelings of hopelessness. The main takeaway is to get tested. Once you know your status, you can do something about it.
Richardo: There are resources out there, like Monarch Health Services at www.monarchealth.org that have services for people to get tested and know their status. Are there any final thoughts you would like to share?
Hepatitis: There may be a few lifestyle changes that could be beneficial to your health such as eliminate alcohol, stick to a more healthier diet, exercise and drink lots of water. Approximately, there are 2.5 million people living with Hepatitis C and the actual numbers may be higher. Hepatitis C can be cured. So do not wait. If you are living with Hepatitis C get tested and seek treatment as soon as possible.
Richardo: Thank you, Hepatitis for being on the show with us and for providing us with so much details.
Richardo Jackson has over 20 years of experience addressing social determinants of health and improving health equity.