Finding out that you have Hepatitis C can be a shock. You may be feeling like you don’t know what to do next. Here are some things you can think about to help you start dealing and living with Hepatitis C:
What testing have you had?
The first test is a screening test called the Hepatitis C antibody test. A positive result indicates the person has been exposed to the Hepatitis C virus at some point in their life
The second test is a confirmatory test. Hepatitis C RNA testing checks for the actual virus in the body by measuring the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the blood.
This test is done after a person tests positive for Hepatitis C antibodies. If a person also tests positive for Hepatitis C RNA it means they have Hepatitis C. If the test is negative it means that they were one of the 25% that had the virus clear up on its own.
Take good care of yourself - Hepatitis C causes liver damage. Everything you eat drink, smoke, swallow, or rub on your skin goes through your liver. Help your liver do its job. Eating a healthy, low-fat, low salt diet. Reduce your alcohol intake. Drink plenty of water. Get enough rest. Do some light exercise. .
Learn about Hep C - Understanding Hep C will help you make decisions about your health. Hep C is a slow moving illness so there’s no need for you to make quick decisions. Make sure you know how Hep C is spread so you can prevent transmitting it to others. Hep C is only spread through blood to blood contact; knowing this will help you protect yourself and others.
Consider getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B - Having more than one type of hepatitis could be very hard on your liver. Talk to your healthcare provider about what type of Hepatits C you have (called your genotype). This information will help you and your healthcare provider make the best treatment decisions for you.
Consider treatment - You can live a healthy life with Hep C. Talk with a healthcare provider to find out more about treatment and make the decision that's best for you.
Think about getting support - Many people find it helpful to join a support group or connect with other people through the internet who also have Hep C. Talk with people you care about and build a strong support system for yourself.