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Hepatitis C virus

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, commonly caused by a viral infection (currently concerned hepatitis viruses type: A, B, C, D and E). Other factors causing liver inflammation are: Autoimmune-related diseases, medications, drug use, toxification and alcohol abuse.

Hepatitis caused by type C virus, commonly referred as Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, is one of the major concerns among liver disease. New HCV infections are usually silent and asymptomatic (acute infection), sometimes chronic infection

About 30% (15-45%) of infected persons are able to eliminate the virus by its own body within 6 months of infection without any treatment. The remaining 70% (55-85%) of persons will develop chronic HCV infection. Those with chronic HCV infection without proper treatment can lead to liver damage, subsequently, cirrhosis (liver failure) or liver cancer.

Globally, approximately 58 million individuals are currently living with HCV. In the year 2019 alone, 1.5 million Hepatitis C new infections and 290,000 deaths associated with its complications were recorded.

In Malaysia, 2.5% of the population is having HCV antibody. Sharing contaminated needles is the main factor of HCV transmission in Malaysia. As latest report, estimated 380,000 Malaysian are living with active HCV infection. Projection at year 2039, 63,900 deaths will be associated with HCV.

70-80% of the infected persons had no sign or symptoms.
However, the symptoms below can relate to HCV infection.

  • Jaundice
  • Urine with dark colour (usually brownish/dark yellow)
  • Pale stools
  • Vomit
  • Lack of appetite
  • Extremely fatigue
  • Sharing contaminated needle
  • Received blood products and transplanted organs before 1994
  • Haemodialysis
  • Contaminated or unsterile equipment for tattoo or body piercing
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse and risky behaviour
  • Mother-to-child transmission
  • Sharing personal utensil/toiletries

Hepatitis C virus will not spread:

Sharing foods/drinks

Sharing toilet/bathroom

Sharing clean bedding/clothing

Mosquito bite

Playing sports together

Hugging, kissing and holding hands

Preventive measures:

Do not sharing needle or any blood-contaminated apparatus

Do not share snorting apparatus

Ensure cleanliness of personal toiletries

Covering the open wound

Disinfect the area contaminated with blood using detergent (e.g. Clorox)

Reduce risk by using condom during sexual intercourse

Tattoo and body piercing at a reliable shop with clean and sterile apparatus

Get advice from your doctor if you had pregnant

Receive healthcare services from authorised centers

Everyone is encouraged to do a screening test at least once in their whole life.

The groups below are encouraged to do regular HCV screening test:

  • Injecting drug users (including former)
  • Recipients of blood products and transplanted organs before 1994
  • Tattooed or pierced with unsterile equipment
  • People living with HIV
  • Child of the mother living with HCV
  • Persons born between year 1945-1965
  • Persons had shared person toiletries (e.g. Shaver and toothbrush)
  • Partner of those who are HCV‐infected?
  • Had abnormal liver function tests or with liver diseases
  • Involved in any accident punctured by sharp objects or needles
  • Prisoners (including former)

HCV screening can be done by testing HCV antibodies via pricking the finger or obtaining blood from the arm. HCV screening is offered free for Malaysian citizens at many government health clinics.

  • Visit our partnered Community-Friendly / STI-Friendly Clinics or go to the nearest health clinic in your area
  • At a private clinic or hospital, the cost of HCV screening ranges from MYR 30 - 150
  • You can also get connected with our Peers and Outreach Workers for support and assistance

Answer is YES!

The medications to treat HCV infection, the Direct-acting Antiviral (DAA) agents, are currently offered free for Malaysian citizens at many government health facilities. The treatment duration is differ in each person, based on the stages of HCV infection (from 3 to 6 months).

The examples of DAA agents:

Ravidasvir/Daclatasvir/Sofosbuvir

Whether you’ve tested reactive or non-reactive, below are the links for you to receive the care, treatment, and even the counselling you need.