Avatar universal

If hepatitis C is so easy to get, why don't we all have it?

Hi, I'm a 23 yo female, US, white, upper class background.  I will admit I do have OCD, which used to center around HIV and now is about hep c.  It seems so easy to get, but that makes me wonder why it's only 1% of the population who has it, not 75%.  I see studies saying 40% of patients cite no risk factors, so presumably they got it from everyday occurrences.  But if that's so easy to have happen, why don't we all have it?

In addition, my boyfriend essentially has the same "risk factors" as I do, and he refuses to get tested.  He also says I shouldn't get tested because it will only make my OCD worse.  My old therapist agrees, as do my parents.  I will probably get tested anyway, after I see a new therapist to help treat OCD.

More than anything I would like to know what my risk is.  The only risk factors I can think of:

1.) I shared a bill to snort cocaine once with a young friend.  I have no history of cocaine/drug use other than that.
2.) I once walked 2 blocks barefoot and when I got home I realized I had cut my toe, but I didn't know how it happened (upper class residential area)
3.) I go to the gym a lot, presumably at some point I've had a cut on my hand.
4.) I have had mani/pedis a few times but the places seemed hygienic.  It was all after 2004 so presumably they were aware of hep c.
5.) My brother and I were both born with jaundice (I required no treatment) however my mother says she was probably tested for hep c recently when she was approved for life insurance in 2010 and they tested her for tons of things including hiv.
6.) I have had oral surgery before, but I didn't get any blood products to my knowledge and it was all after 1997.

With all of this, I feel like I 100% have hep c, but then I realize it's still not a common disease, and MOST people don't have it.  Most people have probably encountered the things I've encountered, so I'm just confused...if it's so easy to get why don't we all have it, and what's my risk?
29 Responses
96938 tn?1189799858
Maybe you do have HCV.  Testing is reasonable.
Avatar universal
I plan on it, at least when my family understands and won't give me trouble about it.  It just upsets me because if I have it, they probably all do too.  Because they have done all the things I've done for the most part.  I wish they would get tested.
163305 tn?1333668571
Hep C is spread only via blood to blood contact with an infected person.
Simply having a cut or even transmitting blood with another person won't give it to you, unless that person has it.

I'm fairly certain I had it when my child was born and wasn't diagnosed until after she was grown. We shared many things, and I took care of her wounds.  Nevertheless she does not have it.

You're risk factor is low though anything is possible. I'd get tested to put your mind at ease, but as you say, your problem is not in your blood, it's your OCD. Your problem is in your mind, not in your body.
Many of us have it for years and years without knowing it.

BTW: Hep C is not restricted to lower class people. It doesn't care if you are wealthy or not. It is not a 'dirty' disease and risk factor is not higher in one neighborhood over another other than if there is more IV drug use with sharing needles.
Avatar universal
Oh, I know it's not a lower class disease, although it does "cluster" around certain groups from what I've seen, like veterans, people who have been in prison, and being from a low socioeconomic status was listed as one of the factors.  Probably due to poorer sanitary conditions in lower income neighborhoods? I'm not sure, in fact I was surprised to see that stat at all.  
96938 tn?1189799858
446474 tn?1446347682
"so I'm just confused."
Your thoughts and obsessions are symptoms of your OCD.

You are showing OCD, an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions).

Some common obsessions include:

* Fear of contamination
* Pathological doubt
Need for particular order
Aggressive impulses
Sexual impulses

All post your posts are obsessing about things in your own mind. Get help with your OCD now! It should be managed much better than it currently is.

Some people with OCD may need help from both a psychiatrist (who is a board-certified physician with specific training in mental health) and from a psychologist or licensed therapist trained specifically in CBT/ERP therapy. Given the evolving understanding of OCD, seeking out a mental healthcare provider that has specific experience treating OCD is recommended.

The "risk factors" you mention are not common risk factors for transmission of hepatitis C. transmission of hep C involves the sharing of blood between a infected person and a non-infected person.

Your questions should be posted in the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Community.

Good luck
Avatar universal
   Most people dont have Hep C because the main way to catch it, currently, is thru I.V. drug abuse (77% of the new cases)
   Many people wont admit that they got Hep C, from shooting up,
because of many reasons. I would never go on my FaceBook, and say, "hey, guess what, I just got cured of Hep C, hooray!!!", becuz of the stigma involved.
   I know tons of people who have Hep C...and we all used to shoot up.
Avatar universal
Oh I definitely have OCD.  I wish this would all go away because I know so many people who have the same "risks" as me and they don't give this a second thought!
Avatar universal
    Be careful, because I was so scared of germs, like HIV, that I
sometimes feel like I went out and caught Hep C, just to be over the anxiety. Once I had it, I know longer worried about it!
   Just recently, I got rid of it, and now I am freaked out about catching it again, after 20 yrs of no worries.
  Do avoid manicures and pedicures though, and get tested once, and no more cocaine straws, then, no worries.
    OCD seems to have cycles, and comes and goes, but is veryhard to cure. It is also very painful. At a certain point, I thought I caught Hep C, from taking a bath after someone who I knew had Hep C. I kept asking people for reassurance, eenmy kids, although I knew that this was typical OCD behavior.
Avatar universal
Interesting.  I'm just so angry that mani-pedi places are allowed to run if they're risky!  Shouldn't there be rules about sanitation?  I guess before the '80s it was more dangerous because nobody knew even about HIV at that point...but c'mon, I should hope they're at least sterilizing stuff!  yikes.
Avatar universal
I'm sorry but all I have to say is WOW!!!! I'm infected. Going through all kinds of hell to treat it,  and these are the kinds of questions posted?  I'm sure I'm going to sound rude and probably compassionless, but it just shocks me. Most of the people ive encountered that are infected did not come from "poor, un -sanitary neighborhoods " neither did I for that matter. Hep c doesn't discriminate.
Avatar universal
I certainly don't want to offend anyone.  I guess I see things online that tell me there's a high chance I'm infected, and if it's a difficult process as you say, then, it would make sense to worry about it and wonder about my risk factors.  I don't think it's impossible for upper class people to get it, but I'm just going off a study I read that said it was more common in lower class areas/populations.  It's also more common among certain racial groups but I know that doesn't mean it's impossible for white people to get it.  If I thought it discriminated, I wouldn't be worried!
Avatar universal
  I was very hurt, shocked and angry, when I first read the OCD posts on here, as well, but they are fairly common.
   Obsessive Complusive Disorder is a condition that has to do with brain chemistry, so the sufferers of this disease are not behaving rudely, on purpose.They just have an over-riding compulsion, to seek reassurance, and come here, to do so.
  Hep C is affects one third of the prison population, and people who have the $$ to pay for a good lawyer, and to bail out, dont end up in prison or jail, as much as poor people do,  and I am including myself is that statement. I ended up in jail, and was attacked a few times in there...and the conditiona re horribly unsanitary. So, that may be why the statistic includes socio-economic~
Avatar universal
  One out of ten African American men, between the ages of 45~65, in the town of Oakland, Ca, are currently infected with the Hep C virus. That is considered a pandemic.
    There is also a predominantly uneven amount of African-Americans getting arrested~
Avatar universal
I'm sure that's so,  its just pretty hard to swallow when I'm going through soo much to be cured and I was not in jail, or shoot up iv drugs. I'm most definitely more sensitive about these sorts of posts than usual, but I cant help that it bothers me. Anyone like myself can catch hep c and knowing that its a blood to blood infection should soothe most of those obsurd fears, like walking barefoot in an "upper class neighborhood ".
Avatar universal
Hep c is not that easy to get, unless you are engaging in high risk behavior...Mark
1747881 tn?1546175878
"If hepatitis C is so easy to get, why don't we all have it?"

I agree with maybe368 and I think you answered your own question.
Avatar universal
I guess, that's what I always thought but why are there so many people who cite "no risk factors"?  Is it because they had surgery before hep c was discovered, and don't realize that's a risk factor, or maybe they shot up but don't want to be stigmatized...or do you think there are everyday risk factors still not uncovered?
3093770 tn?1389739126
This is not true Mark. I did not engage in any high risk behavior yet I have hep C. Which let's me think that I got it either from a mani/pedi place or from dental work.

This is a valid question and I think that those are valid risks
The only way to really know is to get test it.

There are countries with high % of HCV, take Egypt for example. Drugs are certainly not a risk factor there, nor are tatoos. Yet something like 10% of the populations is infected and reason is poor healthcare oversight and erratic medical hygiene.
3093770 tn?1389739126
Even if someone had surgery after the hep c was discovered that does not make them safe. In reality you would rely on someone to do their work properly. To disinfect their equipment and if the doctor or nurse themselves have HCV to make sure that they are taking all the steps to prevent transmission

Same applies for mani/pedi places
Avatar universal
I guess it's just really frightening to think that doctors, nurses and salons are just leaving bloody instruments out and not sterilizing them!  I can't imagine any doctor I know in the US doing this, I hate to think that's common behavior.
3093770 tn?1389739126
No it is not a common behavior, they are not leaving blood and they are sterilizing their instruments. The fact that is US or other western country means only that that probability of having them disinfected is lower than Egypt and that there are more laws in places to punish someone if they don't. And also those laws are insuring that a facility is not approved if some standards are not respected.

But the test is not taking long and to put your mind at rest go and test.
Avatar universal

it is true, I didn't say it was impossible to get, just not that easy...Mark
Avatar universal
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