Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes damage to the liver and this can lead to cirrhosis, (scarring of the liver), and eventually liver failure and death.
The virus is spread by blood to blood contact. Most hep
atitis C is transmitted by sharing injecting equipment or other blood contact. Hepatitis C wasn’t considered to be an STI in the past however there is increasing evidence of it being passed on during sex – especially where blood is involved (e.g. fisting, toys or longer, harder fucking sessions).
It can be passed on when tiny amounts of blood are present on fingers, fists, toys or dicks which are moved from one arse to the next without being correctly cleaned, or gloves and condoms not being changed between guys.
In the early stages of hepatitis C infection, symptoms may be absent and can take years to show up. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue or jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
Next week: Hep C and HIV