Aa
Aa
A
A
A
Close
Avatar universal

Can it ever be determined how one got the hep C?

I am 56 years old female.  Never used drugs of any sort, but had two blood transfusions back in the 80's during my 2 C-sections.  Is it possible to make sure that my blood transfusions were the source of my infections?
5 Responses
683231 tn?1467323017
If you don’t know cannot pinpoint a specific incident there is no way to know when you were infected.

However, blood transfusions done prior to 1990 when antibody testing was developed to detect hep c allowing the blood supply to be secured was a known risk so if you have no other risk factors that could be a likely source.

In any event no there is no way to determine and you will never know but it is highly probable that was the source of your hep c infection.
2 Comments
Thank you kindly.  Another question ... My husband of 30+ years is NOT infected.  Could that be a strong indication that infection happened much later (pedicure or dentist for example) or is this pure luck?
And one more ... How badly my liver may be damaged if infection happened in the 80s?  Sorry, but I will see the specialist in about 10 days and my GP is in a dark more than I am.
683231 tn?1467323017
There are many long term  monogamous couples where one has hepatitis C and the other does not. In fact the CDC does not recommend that such couples use barrier protection i.e. condoms. Hep c is not really considered to be an STD. While sexual transmission is possible that is more common for those who have multiple partners or engage in rough sexual practices.

About 20% of those infected for more than 20 years will develop advanced liver scarring meaning 80% do not. Fo myself I learned I had hep c when I donated blood about 20 years after I suspect I was infected. My fibrosis score on liver biopsy at that time was F1 or minimal scarring. I was followed over the years of infection having biopsies every five years going from F1 to F2 to F3 and finally F4 which is by definition liver cirrhosis but that was after being infected for 30 years. I was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis in January 2008.

I treated with the old interferon based treatments three times in the past but had no response to treatment. I was finally cured of hep c after completing treatment with 24 weeks of Harvoni and ribavirin in May 2015. My treatment was longer than normal due to my prior history of multiple treatment failures and having cirrhosis.

So you likely have had hep c since the blood transfusions. It is not unusual for one spouse to have hep c and the other one does not. Most people don’t develop significant liver damage until they have been infected for decades.

Hand in there you will learn more soon. I know this is a scary time for you but odds are extremely good you will be cured with a treatment that is very effective and well tolerated by most patients. And the odds are good you have little to no liver damage. Also for those with less liver damage after cure they can return to normal life as if never infected. For myself I see my hepatologist every year and have blood testing and abdominal ultrasound every six months.

Also there are less invasive methods other than liver biopsy to estimate liver scarring. There is a machine called a Fibroscan and a blood test called fibrosure both are reasonable accurate at estimating liver damage.

Let me know if you have any more questions I’ll try to help as best I can.

Good luck with your doctors appointment and treatment.

Lynn
3 Comments
I suspect I was infected in 1978
Thank you so much.  I will have one or two more questions since you are so knowledgeable.

My type is 1b and the viral load is 2 million.  I read somewhere that this type does the most damage on the liver.  Is that the case?

I was diagnosed with fatty liver some 11 years ago, but my doctor did not follow up.  He told me to lose weight even though I am not big.  Can fatty liver last long like 11 years and not produce scarring?

Thank you.
But really whatever has happened as far as damage has happened. Not much can be done except move forward from where you are now.

Not much use in worrying about the unknown the what ifs. Just find out where you now stand. All the worrying in the world won’t change the news you will eventually receive.

Worrying does nothing to prevent tomorrow’s sorrows it only steals the joy from today
683231 tn?1467323017
Not familiar with genotype 1b being more aggressive in terms of liver scarring.

Fatty liver is a growing problem in the US as a cause of liver damage. Hep c is often associated with fatty liver but having fatty liver all in its own can cause liver damage.

There is a condition called NAFLD non alcohol fatty liver disease. As there is an increase in obesity in the US there is an associated rise in liver disease caused by being over  weight. If your BMI is above 30 (obese) the single best thing you can do is lose some weight preferable to get to a normal BMI of less than 25 or at least get into overweight range of less than 30.

I personally think in my lay persons opinion that since having hep c can take decades to cause liver damage it would likely be similar in fatty liver. But having both hep c and fatty liver could be a sort of one-two punch against your liver.

Still if you do have significant liver damage with cure of hep c you can still live a normal life span and die from something other than liver disease.

As I said I’ve been living with liver cirrhosis for over 11 years. Now that I'm cured my prognosis is greatly improved

Best of luck
1 Comments
FYI ... I have seen the specialist and have my fibroscan done today.  I am F4 already and will start 12 week Epclusa treatment once government approves it.  Do you remember what symptoms you had when you were F4?  I guess I am just hoping  that maybe I am not that bad as my symptoms are very mild.  Thank you in advance.
683231 tn?1467323017
Sorry to hear about the F4 score.

I had no symptoms cirrhosis is a silent illness.

My first noticeable symptom was lower leg and foot swelling called putting edema. Also I developed a low platelet of around 80 to 90 with min normal being  150. Both are common first symptoms of early cirrhosis.

Four years after I was diagnosed on my 3rd upper endoscopy I was found to have grade3 esophageal varicies that needed banding. And of course easy bruising.
29837 tn?1414534648
I never did drugs but had several surgeries before 1980. The doctor agreed that at that time, there were no definitive tests to find Hep C in the blood, so I got it from a blood transfusion.
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Hepatitis C Community

Top Hepatitis Answerers
317787 tn?1473358451
DC
683231 tn?1467323017
Auburn, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Answer a few simple questions about your Hep C treatment journey.

Those who qualify may receive up to $100 for their time.
Explore More In Our Hep C Learning Center
image description
Learn about this treatable virus.
image description
Getting tested for this viral infection.
image description
3 key steps to getting on treatment.
image description
4 steps to getting on therapy.
image description
What you need to know about Hep C drugs.
image description
How the drugs might affect you.
image description
These tips may up your chances of a cure.
Popular Resources
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child
This article will tell you more about strength training at home, giving you some options that require little to no equipment.
In You Can Prevent a Stroke, Dr. Joshua Yamamoto and Dr. Kristin Thomas help us understand what we can do to prevent a stroke.