Chapter 12 – Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs)

Hepatitis C

According to recent estimates more than 226,000 Australians were chronically infected with Hepatitis C virus (HCV)(11,38) and are at long-term risk of developing liver cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular cancer.

Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact. Chronic complications of HCV are one of the most common causes for liver transplantation in Australia. Many people with chronic hepatitis C infection are asymptomatic; thus, it is important to offer screening to potentially at-risk patients when doing serological testing as part of an STI screen. HCV is rarely sexually transmitted outside of the setting of unprotected anal sex in HIV positive MSM. (7)

There is a national campaign to test at-risk persons for HCV as active infections can now be cured in the vast majority of people with short courses of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) which are available on the PBS.

For full details of the clinical presentation of Hepatitis C (when symptomatic), as well as testing and treatment recommendations (the scope of which is beyond this text) see:

Australian Hepatitis C guidelines (39) Australian STI management guidelines section on hepatitis C. ... Buy now


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