Hepatitis C infection is more persistent than Hepatitis A or B.
Spread of Hepatitis C
While less commonly spread via sexual means that hepatitis B, it is still considered as a sexually transmitted disease. The main modes of spread of hepatitis C is through contact with the blood of an infected person.
Hepatitis C is most commonly spread via infected needles and sharp objects compared to sexual transmission.
The Natural History of Hepatitis C infection
The symptoms of hepatitis C infection is similar to that of hepatitis A and B. Approximately 20% of individuals who become infected with HCV will clear the virus from their body within 6 months, though this does not mean they are immune from future infection with HCV.
The other 80% of people will develop chronic hepatitis C infection, during which the virus may cause mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. These people will however carry the hepatitis C virus for the rest of their lives and will remain infectious to others. Like chronic Hepatitis B infection, chronic infection with hepatitis C virus may lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer in the long run.
Currently, there is no vaccine as yet for Hepatitis C. However, being vaccinated for Hepatitis B provides some protection against Hepatitis C.
Screening for Hepatitis C
Screening is usually done with a Hepatitis C antibody serology at 1 month post exposure.
This test unfortunately has a relatively high chance of a false positive result (about 1%). To confirm the diagnosis if the serology test if positive, we would proceed to do a Hepatitis C DNA test.
Updated U.S. Public Health Service Guidelines for the Management of Occupational Exposures to HBV, HCV, and HIV and Recommendations for Postexposure Prophylaxis stated ‘Extended HIV follow-up (e.g., for 12 months) is recommended for HCP who become infected with HCV following exposure to a source coinfected with HIV and HCV.’
In other words for patients who got infected with Hep C and HIV at the same time, they need to be screened for HIV for up to 12 months. Not the usual 3 months window period.
Update March 2015
In recent published guidelines on HIV screening, it is no longer mentioned that a Hepatitis C and HIV co-infection can prolong the HIV testing window period. This could be due to the advent of better and more accurate tests.Click here for more Info on HIV and Hep C Co-Infection Window Period Click here to see the full range of our HIV/STD Services
Need more advice?
- Robertson Walk (Anonymous HIV Clinic) (+65 6238 7810)
- DUO Galleria (Bugis MRT) (+65 6976 5023)
- Novena Medical Centre (+65 6397 2095)
- Somerset – Orchard Building (+65 6262 0762)
- Raffles Place – PLUS (+65 6962 7144)
- Holland V (+65 6235 1339)
- Siglap (East Coast Road) (+65 6962 2144)
Where to find us – here
Selected clinics are open on Saturday and Sunday.
For lady patients who prefer female doctors, we have professional certified female Doctors to attend to your medical needs.
If you have any questions, visit our free online forum on sexual health, HIV and STDs.
If you need a HIV test visit Our Clinics anytime during our opening hours. You do not need an appointment.
Find out more about Anonymous HIV testing at our clinics.
Can’t wait for 3 months to find out? Find out more about Anonymous Rapid HIV Combo test at our clinics.Click Here for Contact Details, Address and Opening Times.
Call us at 63972095 now to book your treatment.
Feel free to email your queries, feedback and suggestions on what other topics you want to see in the comments section below.Early, Fast and Accurate Anonymous HIV test – Click Here Full Comprehensive STD/STI screening – Click Here HIV Prevention within 72 hours of exposure (PEP) – Click Here STD Screening for Women – Click Here
About Dr. Tan
Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.