Ever since I’ve been working in hepatitis C there
have been many, many myths about hepatitis C. Thankfully, some of the
myths have disappeared, but unfortunately, many still linger. I have
included the most common myths I still hear, but these are by no means
all of the myths circulating out there!
1. Myth: Hepatitis C is a death sentence!
Fact: When someone is newly diagnosed
with hepatitis C, one of the first questions he or she asks themselves
is this question. Yes, too many people die from hepatitis C but it is
not necessarily hepatitis C that is killing people—the lack of
diagnosis, medical care and treatment are responsible for all the
deaths. No one should die from hepatitis C! If everyone with
hepatitis C was diagnosed early on, received regular monitoring and was
treated with HCV medications we would not see these many deaths that
we see. But of course, that is not reality so people are needlessly
2. Myth: Genotype 1 is the ‘worst’ genotype!
Fact: Wrong! As it turns out genotype 3 turns
out to be the genotype that has the lower treatment response, and that
seems to increase the chances of developing fatty liver. While the
direct link between genotype 3 and fatty liver is not completely
understood, it is known that when people with genotype 3 are cured the
fatty liver is reduced and sometimes completely resolved. It is
well-known that fatty liver increases the rate of HCV disease
progression that can lead to cirrhosis. People with genotype 3 also
have faster rates of disease progression.
There may also be a link between genotype 3, insulin resistance and viral load, but more studies are needed.
People with genotype 3 and
cirrhosis have a much lower response rate with the two currently
approved HCV medications—Sovaldi plus ribavirin and Daklinza plus
Sovaldi. More HCV medications are under development to meet this unmet
3. Myth: HCV has no symptoms!
on! Anyone who is living with hepatitis C can tell you that there are
many symptoms from hepatitis C. They may come on so gradually that
some people with hepatitis C may not even notice that the symptoms are
from hepatitis C. When cured, however, the symptoms for the most part
fade away. The most common symptoms are fatigue. The type of fatigue
can be mild, moderate or severe. It is difficult to measure some of
the symptoms and that is the reason that they are many times dismissed.
There are many other symptoms such as muscle and joint pain, brain
fog, skin problems, insomnia, and of course there can be some very
severe symptoms and problems associated with hepatitis C.
4. Myth: There is a hepatitis C vaccine!
Fact: BIG FALSE! This myth is because people
get hepatitis A, B, C confused and lump them all together. There is a
vaccine to protect against hepatitis A and hepatitis B. But, don’t we
wish there was a vaccine for hepatitis C? There are also other
confusing myths out there like: “Isn’t that the one you get from
eating bad food?”; “Isn’t hepatitis C that one when hepatitis A gets
worse, turns into hepatitis B, gets even worse and turns into hepatitis
C—all of these are myths.
Note: It is important to remember, however, that
people with hepatitis C should be vaccinated against hepatitis A and
hepatitis B if they are not immune. You don’t want to get another
hepatitis virus on top of hepatitis C.
5. Myth: Hepatitis C is a sexually transmitted disease!
Fact: Hepatitis C is not
classified as a sexually transmitted disease. It can be transmitted
sexually, but it is uncommon among people who are in a stable long-term
monogamous relationship. In people who are not in a stable long-term
monogamous relationship the risk of sexual transmission is higher. If
you fall within this group safer sex practices should be followed.
Labels: Myths about HCV, The Five