Today’s society, despite having constant access to new information, still has issues with a basic understanding of widespread diseases and viruses due to a lack of proper sanitary education and the inability to critically analyze the information provided. Thus, some of the most common blood-borne viruses today are HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C and B types. However, if HIV/AIDS as an incurable disease has already become a socially engaging issue, the notion of hepatitis remains mysterious for the vast majority of the world community. In the course of the following paper, the notion of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) will be discussed on the subject of basic symptoms, cure, and prevention. Scholars define hepatitis C as “a hepatotropic RNA virus that causes progressive liver damage, which might result in liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma” (Manns et al., 2017, p. 1). That is, HCV stands for a blood-borne virus that eventually leads to liver inflammation.
One of the major challenges in terms of defining HCV is the implicitness of signs and symptoms, as such prerequisites as fatigue, loss of appetite, yellowness of the skin might address a series of other health conditions that are not so hazardous for one’s life. Moreover, the following symptoms tend to be visible after the virus is living in the body long enough to cause liver disease, which is characterized by the aforementioned signs (Mayo Clinic, 2020). For this reason, the disease prevalence across the world is directly correlated with the quality and accessibility of the medical services in the region. Thus, the most appropriate way to control the disease spreading is to identify HCV major risk groups.
The major paradox in the context of the HCV diagnosis lies in the fact that despite quite a little knowledge on the topic, there are, in fact, many risk groups who are exposed to the virus. The vast majority of the HCV risk groups include common risk factors for any blood-borne diseases, which include virus transmission through utilized equipment, mother-child relations, and sexual intercourse. However, a significant peculiarity of HCV transmission is the fact that some people, born within a certain timeframe, are more exposed to infection than others due to a specific historical background of the time.
The causes of hepatitis C infection are generally similar to the process of obtaining any other blood-transmitted disease. The contaminated blood cells enter the human bloodstream, transmitting the infection to the whole body, which later affects the overall health condition (Mayo Clinic, 2020). After entering the organism, the virus undergoes two major steps of development within the body. The first stage is called acute, and it is characterized by some minor symptoms that are usually not taken into consideration, lasting from one to three months after the exposure. In case the human body does not perform viral clearance after the phase, hepatitis C infection becomes chronic.
Over the past decades, the statistics on HCV development and spreading tendencies remain practically the same, claiming the vast majority of the exposed individuals suffer from chronic hepatitis C, which eventually leads to cirrhosis and lethal outcomes. However, despite practically identical patterns of HCV infection, society is still struggling with defining hepatitis and ways of coping with the following condition. As a result, the overall impact on society is affected, as people seem to label people living with HCV, following the stereotype that most blood-borne infections are common among sex workers and drug abusers. Moreover, due to the lack of proper education, many people become exposed to the virus by neglecting basic hygiene principles. Hence, there is a distinct division between people living with HCV and others, creating a significant social issue that needs to be addressed on the level of social organizations and authorities.
According to the latest modifications introduced by WHO, chronic HCV could be treated starting from a relatively young age – 12 years with variations in therapy duration yet adhering to the same medications. However, the major issue with the treatment nowadays lies within the accessibility of treatment, as direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) cost a lot due to their exclusiveness in the market. Over the past years, WHO dedicated a full-scale program to increasing the number of patients exposed to the successful HCV, making an attempt to secure 80% of patients with DAA therapy by the year 2030 (WHO, 2020). However, since the following goal is still hard to reach, more attention should also be drawn to the issue of HCV prevention.
As there is no designed vaccine against HCV, the primary emphasis on disease prevention should be placed on preventative measures aimed at reducing the risk of contracting the virus. Thus, primary and secondary prevention stages should be focused on providing people with relevant information on HCV transmission methods and the importance of frequent screening in order to avoid unpleasant consequences. Once the first two stages are addressed explicitly, the necessity to exploit tertiary prevention will reduce significantly. However, while there are not enough educational resources on combating HCV infection, tertiary prevention, which considers constant monitoring of patients with chronic HCV, should be performed regularly in order to reduce the fatality rates.
When speaking of attempts for the eradication of HCV across the globe, it is quite complicated to outline tangible strategies for issue combating, as there are no direct causes or symptomatic peculiarities of the blood-borne infection. Hence, some of the most appropriate recommendations considering HCV eradication primarily concern the enhancement of the socio-economic environment, in which people would have more access to quality preventive healthcare and sterile medical equipment. Moreover, socio-economic development would encourage the rapid reduction of major risk groups population, including illicit drug users. Moreover, the emphasis should be placed on the issue of early education on the subject of HCV definition, transmission peculiarities, and steps to take once one is diagnosed.
Considering the information above, WHO has already made a significant attempt in order to launch a promising campaign focused on the sustainable development goals’ contribution to the eradication of HCV infection patterns. In terms of the Sustainable Development Agenda, the initiation of which traces back to 2016, WHO representatives, along with other officials, decided to draw public attention to the issue of HCV. Thus, they outlined the necessity of raising healthcare quality standards in order for the broad audience to become more engaged in the prevention process, as, in such a way, they would realize that HCV is about each community member without exception.
Taking everything into consideration, it might be concluded that the hepatitis C virus is a notion that seems quite understandable in general context while remaining a complete mystery when finding out more detailed information on the subject. Today’s primary focus in terms of the aforementioned disease is creating a safe environment for its eradication and cost-efficient treatment. The following paper has become a small step towards enhancing people’s educational basis on the issue and further policy development aimed at creating a balance between people infected by HCV and other members of the world community.
Manns, M. P., Buti, M., Gane, E. D., Pawlotsky, J. M., Razavi, H., Terrault, N., & Younossi, Z. (2017). Hepatitis C virus infection. Nature reviews Disease primers, 3(1), 1-19.
Mayo Clinic. (2020). Hepatitis C. Web.
WHO. (2020). Hepatitis C. Web.