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alcohol and hep c
Mar 7, 2005

I have recently been diagnosised with hep c gentype 1. I had open heart surgery in 1970. I am a 36 year old healthy female and have never had symptoms. The MD stated that my liver function is normal. My concern is I drink alcohol about once a week is that a problem? I have not had a problem drinking in the past 15 years. In addition, I don't know how to tell my new partner of this recent diagnosis? We use condoms, however, the condom has come off... Is he at risk? Should I have treament? and what about herbal treatment?

Response from Dr. McGovern

Although you have normal liver function tests, many hepatologists advocate a liver biopsy to be certain that you do not have disease. This is due to the fact that some patients can develop disease even in the setting of normal liver function tests.

Alcohol once weekly seems very very mild. As long as you are not "binging" once weekly.

You should discuss the new diagnosis with your partner in the context of infrequent sexual transmission of HCV - about 2 to 3 percent. If you are using condoms all the time that risk will go down to zero. I would recommend baseline testing to know his serostatus anyway, but the risk is very low.

There are no good scientific papers about the benefit of herbal medications for hepatitis C although research is continuing. I would certainly tell your doctor if you decide you want to take herbals because some are harmful.

Dr. McGovern

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