Hepatitis C Concerns
Jun 30, 2010
I am a drug user and although I mainly only smoke cannabis, I have on occasion abused hard drugs. About a month ago I injected pain killers for the first time. Everybody used a different clean needle on the first shot, but since someone else shot me up and we were both really high, I can't guarantee that I didn't get someone elses needle on the second shot. I know I should get tested, but this is not what I am really concerned about. I just read today that HCV can be spread by sharing a toothbrush. While on a family vacation recently, my 18 month old nephew went into the bathroom I was using and breifly stuck my toothbrush in his mouth. Didn't think anything of it at the time, but in light of what I just read, it makes me a little concerned. Should he get tested if I test positive? And also, if I don't want to wait the window period, could I get a PCR test for first round screening?
Response from Dr. McGovern
Yes, you definitely should get tested....and yes you could request testing with PCR-based assays.
The risk to your nephew would be extremely low. We don't recommend sharing toothbrushes mainly because of risk of gum bleeding with brushing. If you are HCV positive, you will need to discuss your diagnosis with his parents so they can discuss testing with his pediatrician.
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