What is Hepatitis C and Why Should You Care?

(gentle music)>>Hepatitis C is a major
problem in the United States, and really around the world.>>More people are dying of
hepatitis C in this country than of HIV.>>I think many people don’t
hear about what hepatitis C even is and how you can get it.>>So hepatitis C is just a virus. It doesn’t do a whole lot
other than want to live in your liver and make
more copies of itself. So the word hepatitis has to do with hepa, which is the liver, anything
having to do with the liver. Itis, which means irritated or diseased. And we know that they’re
different viruses that, once they’re in the body,
their homebase is the liver. The primary viruses we see in
this country are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.>>So anytime someone was
exposed to someone else’s blood, and that could happen through
blood transfusions before ’92, organ transplantation before
screening, people on dialysis, people with hemophilia, as well
as people who inject drugs. All were identified as
high risk populations, as were people living with HIV. Because many of the same
modes of transmission for HIV are also true for hepatitis C. Their immune system tries to fight it. And this battle goes on in a
very silent way in their liver for 10, 20, 30, 40 years. And it may also be causing other problems. Hepatitis C is linked to
things like the development of Type 2 diabetes, as well as
lymphomas and kidney disease. But what happens to some
people is over time, their livers scar leading to cirrhosis. But it’s only at that stage, when the liver can no longer function, that symptoms become obvious.>>When you’re having all that itching, that’s ’cause your liver was acting up.>>I had no symptoms. It didn’t affect anything
that I was doing, so I didn’t respond to it.>>And once you get cirrhosis,
your liver can stop working.>>And the idea is, if you
don’t know you have it, you can’t get the treatment. And you can’t be cured. (upbeat music) (gentle music)

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