Hepatitis C (HCV) is increasingly found in gay men, especially HIV-positive ones. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine and even a cured disease does not protect against further infection. Thanks to new therapies, however, hepatitis C can today be cured in three months.
Brief information on hepatitis C
- Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood, for example during sex, but especially when splitting syringes during drug use.
- Without treatment, the disease often becomes chronic and can have serious health consequences.
- In most cases, a disease with hepatitis C can be cured with therapy within three months.
- Unlike hepatitis A & B, where there is no vaccine. You can always get infected with hepatitis C.
- This is how you protect yourself: Clean syringes during drug use (“sharing nothing”) and gloves when fisting. With long and violent sex is sometimes blood in the game – then protect condoms.
Hepatitis C is often detected too late and can lead to severe liver damage. She is diagnosed by a blood test. Because hepatitis C is transmitted by blood, you can follow a few simple protection rules.
There is no vaccine against hepatitis C, and even after a cure, you can get infected again. You can protect yourself with the following measures:
Only use your own accessories when using drugs. If blood can be involved in sex practices, gloves protect against fisting or condoms while having sex.
When having sex
- Do not share sex toys like dildos with others. It is best to always put on a new condom or thoroughly clean or disinfect the toys.
- When fucking protect condoms, take for each partner a new condom. If you want to fuck without a condom, you should at least take more lube than usual, but less poppers – then it is not so easy to bleed.
- Do you have more than ten sex partners a year and/or do you have tough sex practices? Check your hepatitis C once a year.
- Use gloves when felling – take a new glove for each new partner. Use a separate lubricant pot for each fist partner.
When substance use
- If you inject anabolic steroids or other substances, do not share the needle with others. Incidentally, this also applies to razor blades and toothbrushes. Make sure tattoos and piercings are hygienic.
- Do you take cocaine or speed, just pull your line through your own tube. Coke and speed attack the nasal mucosa and lead to minor bleeding there – a tiny amount of blood on the tube is enough for infection with HCV!
How is Hepatitis C transmitted?
The hepatitis C virus is transmitted by blood. Even the tiniest traces of blood, which may not be visible at all, can lead to an infection.
Transmission during sex is rare in HIV negatives. The risk is probably increased when it comes to bleeding during sex, for example when fisting or violent, long fucking. HCV-containing blood could also be transmitted in the joint use of toys or in group sex, if one guy have sex or fists several others (with or without a condom).
Infections occur especially when injecting drugs such as ketamine, crystal, or heroin, but also when snorting (injecting drugs through the nose) when splitting syringes or other accessories such as tubes: HCV can “survive” in blood leftovers for up to three weeks,
In more than three-quarters of cases, acute hepatitis C is not noticed at all, which means that there are no or only mild symptoms or complaints. In about 10 to 20% of cases, flu-like symptoms occur, sometimes it can also cause yellowing of the eyes and skin. Usually, hepatitis is discovered but only at a blood test.
About three-quarters of the infections become chronic. Most chronic hepatitis C infections run for years or decades asymptomatic or symptom-poor (with fatigue, abdominal pain, fatigue, and recurrent transient elevations in liver function), and even chronic hepatitis can heal spontaneously.
In about one-third of untreated chronic infections, there is an aggressive course with a connective tissue remodeling of the liver (fibrosis), in about 20 percent of infected people after years or decades to cirrhosis with increasing loss of liver function and increased risk of liver cell cancer.
How is hepatitis C treated?
Since acute hepatitis C infection in most cases does not cause disease symptoms, it often goes unnoticed and subsequently untreated.
Hepatitis C is curable in most cases within three months of therapy. Since 2014 there are new drugs that are well tolerated. One tablet is taken once a day.
Important: Every chronic hepatitis C infection should be treated! Sooner or later, the virus will damage the liver.
The therapy is carried out by specialized doctors. These are e.g. HIV specialist practices and physicians for gastrointestinal diseases (gastroenterologists).