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Hepatitis

  • Hepatitis C Infections

Care and Treatment for Hepatitis C

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Why Choose Treatment for Hepatitis C at University of Colorado Hospital?

The Infectious Disease Group Practice at University of Colorado Hospital is nationally recognized. Our doctors are board-certified and conduct groundbreaking research.

In addition, our multidisciplinary care team has experience in diagnosing and managing a wide range of infectious diseases, including Hepatitis C. And we offer patients access to the latest treatments.

Nearly 4 million Americans have been infected with hepatitis C virus. Of those, about 2.7 million have chronic HCV.

What is the Hepatitis C Virus?

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a type of liver disease. It is most commonly spread through contact with infected blood. You can also get HCV through sex with an infected person, and in some cases it passes from mother to baby in childbirth.

 

Often, a delay in symptoms

For many people, it takes years to develop symptoms after infection with the virus.

 

At first, the liver can become inflamed. This is called acute hepatitis C. If the inflammation continues, it becomes chronic hepatitis C.

 

Symptoms of acute or chronic hepatitis C can include:

  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low-grade fever
  • Headache

Over time, hepatitis C infection can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver failure. In serious cases, a liver transplant may be necessary. There are medications available for HCV. However, they don’t help everyone.

Tests & Treatments

Tests

Two blood tests are used to diagnose Hepatitis C virus:

 

Antibody test. Blood is drawn and then tested to see if your body has developed antibodies to the hepatitis C virus. If you test positive, it means you were exposed to the hepatitis C virus at some time in your life.

 

Hepatitis C viral load test. If the antibody test is positive, your blood is drawn and tested to determine if the hepatitis C virus is still in your body. A positive result means you have chronic hepatitis C.

 

Medical Team

The Infectious Disease Group Practice at University of Colorado has a multidisciplinary team of health care providers. Each specialist is trained to provide different aspects of infectious disease care. Your medical team will be assembled with the specialists best suited to treat your condition.

 

Infectious Disease Specialists at University of Colorado Hospital

 

Infectious disease specialists – board-certified doctors who are specially trained in diagnosing and treating infectious diseases.

 

Nurse practitioner (NP) – a registered nurse who has completed a master’s degree. NPs are licensed to see patients for assessment, treatment and follow-up.

 

Registered nurse – graduated from a formal nursing education program and is licensed by the state of Colorado.

 

Pharmacists – have a doctorate degree in the science of medication.

 

Nutritionists – health professionals with special training in nutrition. They help patients determine the best dietary choices for better health.

 

Endocrinologist – a board-certified medical doctor who is specially trained to diagnose diseases that affect the glands.

 

Obstetricians/gynecologists – an obstetrician is a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in delivering babies. A gynecologist is a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the female reproductive system.

 

Oncologist – a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer.

 

Psychiatrist – a board-certified medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental disorders.

 

Psychiatric nurses – have special training in caring for patients with mental disorders.

 

Other Infectious Disease Staff

 

Social workers – help individuals ensure their personal well being and provide the resources for people to get the help they need, by assessing all aspects of their life and culture.

Patient Education & Resources

Living with Hepatitis C Virus

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) can be in your body for a long time – often between 20 and 40 years – before you develop serious symptoms or experience liver failure.

 

Once you’ve been diagnosed with HCV, it's crucial to receive appropriate medical care. A doctor trained in treating HCV – like an infectious disease specialist – can help monitor the disease and when to begin treatment.

 

Because hepatitis C affects the liver, it is important to be in good health and keep your liver healthy. You can do this by:

  • Avoiding or strictly limiting alcohol use
  • Never taking alcohol with other drugs, especially acetaminophen
  • Checking with your doctor before taking any medications
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting appropriate exercise

Living with hepatitis C virus can be stressful. Be sure to talk to your doctor, family and friends about your concerns. Also, avoid spreading HCV. Keep wounds covered, and don’t share anything that might have any blood on it, including:

  • Razors
  • Toothbrushes
  • Tattoo needles
  • Body piercing instruments
  • Manicure tools

 

Hepatitis C Virus Support Groups

 

Hepatitis C Connection

Call (720) 917-3960. Locations include:

  • Denver – first Monday of each month, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sherman Gardens Office Building, 190 E. 9th Ave., Suite 320.
  • Aurora – first Tuesday of each month, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital, 900 Potomac Ave.
  • Englewood – third Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Swedish Medical Center, 501 E. Hampden Ave.
  • Lakewood – second Tuesday of each month, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Shepherd of the Hills Church, 11500 W. 20th Ave.
  • Veterans – first Wednesday of each month, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., VA Medical Center, address.

 

The Archdiocese of Denver HIV/AIDS Ministry

Offers a support group for people who are HIV positive, or have AIDS or Hepatitis C. Meets the first Monday of each month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. St. Dominic Parish Center, 2901 Grove Street Denver. (303) 715-3220.

 

Additional Hepatitis C Virus Resources

American Liver Foundation
A nonprofit organization that promotes liver health and disease prevention. Provides research, education and advocacy for those affected by liver-related diseases, including hepatitis.

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Comprehensive information about hepatitis.

 

Hepatitis Foundation International
Helps people with hepatitis manage and fulfill their lives.

 

Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program
A non-profit organization devoted to meeting the needs of the hepatitis C community.

Gregory Everson, MD

"Triple therapy" for those with Hepatitis C

UCH's Greg Everson, MD, is an expert in this new standard of care for treatment of chronic Hepatitis C.