Unaware of hep C for 20 years

By Rightnow289 · Feb 1, 2009 · ·
  1. Rightnow289
    For 20 years Chrissie Semple carried the hepatitis C virus without knowing it.


    She had become infected after a blood transfusion in Germany following a Caesarean section for her youngest daughter.
    Recent statistics show there are about 100,000 people like Chrissie who are unsuspecting carriers of hep C.
    Doctors only discovered she had the disease in 2000 when she had what felt like "a four-day hangover" - but without the alcohol.
    "I woke up feeling nauseous and felt my body was sore," she said.
    "I went to the doctors because it got to the point where I could not really get out of bed and he thought that perhaps I had ME.
    "It went on for a whole week with me feeling really bad."

    When Chrissie, aged 51, from Cornwall, mentioned that she had been in Cyprus on holiday recently, doctors decided to run the hepatitis test, to see if she had picked up hepatitis A.
    "A couple of weeks later I got the call at home and they said I had hep C," she said.
    "I asked them what it was and how I could have got it and they said 'drugs'.
    "I said I hadn't used drugs and they just said 'I don't know how you got it then'.
    As Chrissie had no piercing or tattoos she eventually concluded that the only possible time she could have contacted the disease was at the birth of her daughter - and that it had lain dormant in her system for over 20 years.
    'It was a complete shock," she said.

    Immune treatment
    Today Chrissie is clear of hep C after successfully undergoing Pegasys, or pegylated interferon, treatment.
    Interferons are a group of naturally occurring proteins that form an essential part of the immune system.
    Interferons operate in two ways, firstly they directly hinder the replication process of the virus and secondly they enhance the immune response.
    Her husband John, who she met on a hep C website, is currently having his second dose of Pegasys.
    He had the virus for 30 years before it was discovered after he presented at his GP's with a rash.
    Hep C was diagnosed, and he traced it back to his taking drugs in the 1970s.

    Years to appear
    Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said: "Around 100,000 people in England are estimated to be unaware that they have hepatitis C.
    "It can take years or even decades for symptoms to appear, if at all, and if left untreated can lead to liver damage and premature death."
    But he said there was help available and urged those who suspected they were at risk to come forward.
    But an ICM poll show that a third of people still do not know the risks of injecting drugs, or getting tattoos and piercings where equipment may not have been sterile.
    Charles Gore, chief executive of the Hepatitis C Trust and President of the World Hepatitis Alliance, said: "Twenty years down the line, it's worrying to see the public still believe so many myths around hepatitis C.
    "Education is absolutely essential to eradicating this problem."
    GP Dr Rosemary Leonard agreed: "There is general ignorance about hep C, people are not aware of it they have heard about HIV and not hep C.
    "Don't use drugs and if you do don't share needles and do practise safe sex and don't go abroad for piercings or tattoos."

    Social stigma
    Many people believe there the social stigma attached to the disease is holding back progress, and needs to be addressed urgently.
    Simon Woods, 36, of London, is living proof of just how difficult it can be to come clean.
    He got hep C from taking drugs and is now clear, but says he was so embarrassed about what he called the "junkie's curse" that he lied to family about why he was ill.
    "There is a big stigma attached to it. When I started the treatment I told my family I was having chemo as I felt cancer was more socially acceptable than hep C," he said.
    Chrissie and John have now set up their own online support forum for those affected with Hepatitis C - The Nomads.

    By Jane Elliott
    BBC News health reporter

    Source - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7856026.stm

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  1. beentheredonethatagain
    hep c is defently a sleeper type disease, I must of had it for over 15 years without even a clue that I was infected.

    but once it did start taking hold it was like suddenly my brain would feel cloudy and it would cause me not to feel quite like everything was normal.

    when I did get to talk to a doctor about my situation , he did some blood work and later told me hep c was the problem, I was glad to know that there was a cause for the brain for, and then I was also like worried about the negitive reponses that I thought were going to surround me, we today after taking shots in the stomach and a handfull of pills for six months , it cleared. today is like it should be, lots of sun and very little fog.
  2. Rightnow289
    Man thats horrible. Glad its all better now
  3. beentheredonethatagain
    I know alot of people who have hep "c" and there are several strains of it, some much harder to clear. fortunately mine was the easier type.
  4. hurryupandwait
    yeah my moms has got it really bad
    they gona give her a shot in the liver n shes gona loose all her hair and shit
    like chemo =(
  5. Joel90
    Dude, that sucks. I hope she gets better.
  6. hurryupandwait
    yea it should be cool..thanks bro
  7. beentheredonethatagain
    are you sure that she is getting ashot in the liver? it sounds like they are going to take a biopsy, by inserting a syringe of sort into the liver and removing a small piece in order to test for cirois, thats what I had to have done, but I have never heard of hair loss.
  8. PsychoActivist
    Wow, reading all this makes me think I should go get myself checked. Thanks for the eye-opener, guys.
  9. hurryupandwait
    i dont know its some shot
    called interferon
  10. Chrissy
    Thank you for adding the link here to my story....

    I have been so lucky to have cleared this virus, tho my Husband has not been as lucky and is back on treatment for 72 weeks this time..

    I must just say hair loss is a very extreme side and not alot get this tho the hair can get thinner...

    It does sound like your Mum is having a Biopsy to see how damaged the liver is, my liver is damaged on a scale 3/6 even tho I have never been a drinker..

    Lots of us suffer from the brain fog as we call it..LOl

    @beentheredonethatagain how was treatment for you.?....what was your worse side effect.?...

    I will leave you with a list of HepC symptoms

    Hepatitis C

    Most people don't experience any symptoms when they first become infected with hepatitis C. There may be vague flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pains and nausea some weeks after being infected.
    In approximately one out of every five people who get hepatitis C, the immune system will clear the virus from the body within six months.
    For others, the virus remains active (chronic hepatitis C), but may not cause any symptoms throughout their life or for many years. During this time they can, however, pass the virus on to others by, for example, sharing needles.
    Some infected people remain well throughout their life and develop no damage or problems to the liver.
    Others with chronic hepatitis C will develop some symptoms of liver damage, such as:

    • weight loss,
    • muscle aches,
    • tiredness,
    • nausea,
    • alcohol intolerance,
    • pain over the liver, and
    • jaundice which causes your skin and the whites of your eyes to become yellow. It may also turn your urine very dark and your stools (faeces) may become pale.
    Approximately one in every five people with chronic hepatitis C infection develop cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) over a period of about 20 to 30 years. A few of those then go on to develop liver cancer or complete liver failure.

    If you have been in a at risk group please get tested....this includes


    Iv drugs

    Anything thats a blood to blood contact...

    Regards Chrissy
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