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HCV infection
Aug 19, 1997

Dear Doc, I understand that HCV is spread by blood and sexual intercourse. I also read that HEP B is about 100 times more contagious that HIV. How contagious is HCV compared to HIV or HEP B? My wife has HIV & HCV. We practice safe sex. What risk am I taking? Thanks so much

Dear Doc, Re. HCV, how contagious is it? I understand that Hep B is about 100 times more contagious than HIV. Is HCV as contagious as Hep B? Also is it safe for children to be in daily contact with HCV carriers? The reason I ask this is because my niece would like to spend her holidays with us. As you know my wife has both HIV & HCV. Is it safe for my niece? I have been surfing the web for more information. I came across a book by Mark Konlee "Keep Hope Alive". It costs about US$20.00. Have you read this book? If so what do you think? In one article he writes that viral load was decreased to undetectable levels by Ozone treatment, Autohemotherapy. Is this to be believed? There are so many new drugs being tested at the moment. Three in particular have aroused my interest. 1. HRG214 by Cervida Corp., based in New Zealand 2. Cytolin by CytoDyn Inc. 3. Zadaxin Thymosin Alpha1. This is for HCV. Do you know anything more about them? I would like to have their www address to contact them myself. Do you know how I could find it out. Thanks a zillion

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your questions. Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) can occasionally be transmitted through sexual contact, but it is most often transmitted through direct blood-to-blood contact. This virus is NOT transmitted through casual contact, so people who have Hepatitis C are not normally putting other household members at risk. Generally speaking, the Hepatitis C virus is more infectious than HIV, but less infectious than Hepatitis B. For example, when we compare the rates of infection through occupational needlestick injuries, the risk for HIV is approximately 0.3%, the risk for Hepatitis B is up to 30%, and the risk for Hepatitis C has been reported from 1.8% to 10%, depending on the study.

The good news is, if you are protecting yourself from HIV, you are protecting yourself from Hepatitis C virus at the same time. As long as you are not directly exposed to the blood of a person with Hepatitis C, and are not having unprotected sex with that person, you are not at risk of infection.

Presently the only approved drug for use against Hepatitis C virus that I am aware of, is Alpha Interferon. Interferon will not cure the infection, but in some persons with chronic Hepatitis from HCV, it may make the illness less severe. Vaccines that have been developed against Hepatitis A and B will not protect a person against Hepatitis C, nor other forms of Hepatitis. I am not aware of any other treatment that has been proven to have any significant clinical benefit against Hepatitis C infection.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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