Stop HIV & Hep C now

Image via Thinkstock

Image via Thinkstock

Explaining the ins and outs of treating HCV

By Andrea Arscott, Senior Columnist

Two new hepatitis C medications, sold under brand names Sovaldi and Harvoni, are now covered under BC PharmaCare to treat chronic hepatitis C (HCV or hep C). These antiviral therapies have a 90 per cent cure rate, whereas the older combination therapies haven’t had as high a success rate in curing HCV.

For those of you who don’t know, HCV is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver and can lead to cirrhosis and the need for a liver transplant. HCV can be a chronic terminal illness, but these days it’s more common to be cured with proper treatment.

Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir) are both pills that are taken over a 12-week period, compared to a previous one-year period of injections and pills. There are different strains of HCV, so depending on which genotype a person has, a combination of the older medications may be prescribed with the newer ones.

Now in order to be eligible for coverage patients must be in the fibrosis stage F2 or greater. There are various tests to determine the severity of cirrhosis and fibrosis of the liver, including having a liver biopsy, transient elastography (FibroScan), or blood tests.

Since there is no vaccine for hep C (just hep A and B), and because some people don’t experience symptoms, it’s important to get tested. According to Catie.ca in 2011, “approximately 97,107 to 108,234 or 44 per cent of people [Canadians] living with chronic hepatitis C were unaware that they had this infection.”

People may not know they have HCV because they’ve never been tested and because symptoms can take up to 20 to 30 years to develop, if at all. By this time, they’d likely have severe liver damage.

Symptoms can include jaundice, fatigue, nausea, reduced appetite, and abdominal pain.

The Canadian Liver Foundation estimates there are roughly 250,000 people infected with HCV in Canada. If you’ve never asked your doctor to test you for HCV, now is the time. Or, get it done when you get tested annually for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

HCV is transmitted through blood-to-blood activities—sharing manicure equipment; toothbrushes; razors; unsterilized medical, dental, tattoo and piercing equipment; needles (acupuncture, diabetic, steroid, and injection drug use); blood transfusions prior to 1992; condomless sex during a woman’s menstrual period; rough, unprotected sex; and sharing other drug paraphernalia.

Basically, you don’t want to share anything that might have blood on it, as it could put you at risk, if the other person is HCV-positive. The virus is also a strong one and can live on surfaces, such as a bill or pipe, for up to six weeks.

If you’re considering Sovaldi or Harvoni talk to your doctor or specialist prior to starting these medications to determine if they interfere with other meds you may be on. The US Food and Drug Association warn that the new treatment for HCV can cause a deadly reaction when taken with the heart medication amiodarone. So be careful and be sure to weigh the pros and cons before subscribing to any treatment regimen.

The easiest way to prevent the spread of HCV is to know your status, so get tested! For any other questions you can contact the Purpose Society, or book an appointment with your doctor.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

More Posts - Website

9,079 comments on “Stop HIV & Hep C now
  1. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
    Thank you

  2. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end
    or if it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Hi my family member! I want to say that this article is amazing, nice created as well as come and roughly all important infos.
    I want to read a lot more posts along these lines .

  4. Every TWERKNIQUE class is diverse, so please send us an email
    if you are unsure whether or not the class is for your twerk capacity.

  5. Many times, this setting is much simpler to find out for the reason that a normal classroom.
    Unfortunately, many items that have been produced through the years
    don’t work. If wearing eyeliner you can sweep a brush
    over the liner to soften as well.

  6. We absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking
    for. Do you offer guest writers to write content to suit your needs?
    I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write regarding here.
    Again, awesome site!

  7. You ought to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality
    websites online. I will highly recommend this site!

  8. I simply couldn’t leave your web site before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed
    tthe usual info an individual supply for your guests?
    Is going to be again steadily to check oout new posts

  9. Many times, this setting is less difficult to learn in this a typical
    classroom. However, prior to buying any product, you have to first know what works best for you.
    If wearing eyeliner it is possible to sweep a brush over the liner to soften as well.

  10. Hi there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to check
    it out. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and
    will be tweeting this to my followers! Exceptional blog and brilliant style and
    design.

  11. The appliances on their own are fairly a little more high-priced than their traditional
    get up on your own personal counterparts. Canada appliance happens when to
    squeeze order and obtain your order shipped sitting at home.
    To read more to do with electric pressure washers, go to
    our Articles section which is really a set of our Electric pressure
    washers products:.

  12. Whoa, amazing website format! The length of time are you
    posting blogs when it comes to? you will be making blogging looks fast.
    The overall search of your own site is excellent,
    let alone this article!

  13. Hey there I am so grateful I found your blog, I
    really found you by mistake, while I was searching on Digg for something
    else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a remarkable post and a all round entertaining blog (I also
    love the theme/design), I don?t have time to browse it all at the moment but I have saved it and also added
    in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to
    read more, Please do keep up the great work.

  14. Laba diena! Žinau, kad tai yra kinda ne į temą Tačiau aš raštuotas norėčiau paklausti.
    Jums būtų suinteresuoti keistis nuorodos arba gal Svečių kūrimo blogas straipsnio
    arba atvirkščiai? Mano Dienoraštis aptaria daug tos pačios dalykai kaip tavo ir aš manau mes
    būtų labai naudinga, viena nuo kitos. Jei galbūt suinteresuotos
    jaustis laisvai siųsti man yra el. paštas. Nekantriai laukiu išgirsti
    iš tavęs! Awesome blogas, beje!

  15. Howdy! This post could not be written any better!
    Going through this post reminds me of my previous
    roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I am going to send
    this information to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a very
    good read. Many thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*