Hepatitis C is a viral infection of the liver.
Hepatitis C is a disease of the liver caused by a virus that was first discovered in 1989. Unlike hepatitis A which is caused by fecal contamination of food and water; or hepatitis B which is spread through contact with infected blood or other body fluids; hepatitis C is spread by direct contact with the blood of an infected person.
Prior to the discovery of the virus, it was known that some agent caused hepatitis or inflammation of the liver in people who had been given blood, and it was known that the agent could be transmitted to patients and to experimental animals in blood.
Before the virus was identified, this form of hepatitis was called non A non B hepatitis because the viruses causing hepatitis A and hepatitis B were already identified and could be tested for. Patients with hepatitis following exposure to blood who had negative tests for hepatitis A and for hepatitis B were said to have non A non B hepatitis. It is now known that the majority of these patients were infected with the virus identified and named hepatitis C virus or HCV for short.
There are a variety of ways in which the virus causing hepatitis C can be spread from one person to another. The virus exists primarily in the liver and in various components of blood, and not in most other parts of the body. It is usually transmitted by direct blood-to-blood contact between two people.
Health Care workers and students repeatedly
exposed to blood products are at risk of needle-stick injury.
AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. A diagnosis of AIDS is made by a physician using certain clinical or laboratory standards.
AIDS is caused by infection with a virus called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Most of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.
These body fluids have been proven to spread HIV: blood, semen , vaginal fluid , breast milk , other body fluids containing blood.
These are additional body fluids that may transmit the virus that health care workers may come into contact with: fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord, fluid surrounding bone joints, fluid surrounding an unborn baby.
How does HIV cause AIDS?
HIV destroys a certain kind of blood cells--CD4+ T cells (helper cells)--which are crucial to the normal function of the human immune system. In fact, loss of these cells in people with HIV is an extremely powerful predictor of the development of AIDS. Studies of thousands of people have revealed that most people infected with HIV carry the virus for years before enough damage is done to the immune system for AIDS to develop.
If you have been exposed to HIV by a Needle Stick accident, you may become infected with HIV which can eventually develop aids. Contact us if you have had a Needle Stick accident and tested positive for HIV.