The Hepatitis C virus is transmitted by exposure to infected blood and from mother to baby (at birth).
In Singapore, approximately 1% of the population are Hepatitis C positive.
Main risk factors for Hepatitis C infection are unprotected sexual intercourse (rough sex, anal sex and intercourse with exposure to blood) and intravenous drug use (sharing needles and syringes). Exposure to semen and other bodily fluids and sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person rarely transmits the Hepatitis C virus.
There is also a potential risk from acupuncture, tattooing, ear piercing, manicures and dental treatment if instruments are not sterilized before use.
Other risk factors include working in healthcare, blood transfusions, dialysis, living with an infected person, travel in countries where the infection rate is high (e.g., East Asia).
Within 6 months of infection, a person may develop acute (short-term) hepatitis.
Acute Hepatitis C has the following symptoms:
- Jaundice (itchy yellowing of skin and “whites” of eyes)
- Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite
Approximately 85% of people who are infected develop chronic infection.
Usually, chronic Hepatitis C has no symptoms until advanced liver disease develops.
There is a 20% risk of liver cirrhosis within the first 20 years of infection; liver cancer develops after 30 years.
The good news is that there is an effective treatment for Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C infection can be diagnosed 6 to 9 weeks after exposure. The diagnosis is usually confirmed by blood test (Hepatitis C antibody). Cross Street Medical
offers screening tests for Hepatitis C. Speak to our doctors about what you may need. Female doctors are available by appointment. We ensure patient privacy and confidentiality for all discussions, tests and treatments.
Hepatitis C infection is managed by a Hepatologist and may require long-term follow-up due to risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The Hepatologist will discuss with you treatment of Hepatitis C.