Hepatitis C is a treatable blood-borne virus which can have serious health implications. It can be spread through sharing injecting equipment. People who have injected drugs account for more than 90% of new hepatitis C positive diagnoses.
The virus primarily damages the liver, affecting its ability to perform essential functions. It can also affect other areas of the body.
Hepatitis C can only be contracted through blood. It can be transmitted through sex involving blood or abrasion to the skin (but not through sexual fluids).
Testing is the only way to tell if you are hepatitis C positive. We offer free hepatitis C testing across our services, including in Needle Exchanges at our Walk-In Centres, through a simple finger-prick test for minimal discomfort. We can also provide free hepatitis B vaccinations.
Around 1 in 5 people will clear the virus naturally during the first six months of infection. There is an effective treatment available which can cure the virus, with some medication having a success rate of around 90%.
If you test positive for the hepatitis C virus, we offer you a treatment referral into Bristol’s hepatology services and further support through Bristol Hep C Support.
For more information visit The Hepatitis C Trust.
MRSA is a type of ‘superbug’ bacteria that lives on the skin and can cause infections, ranging from minor to life-threatening when it enters the bloodstream. The full name of MRSA is meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
While it can be treated with some antibiotics, it does not respond to all of them, so it is important to be aware of the source of the bacteria.
Wounds or injuries can become infected easily, so you are more likely to get infected if you inject. Groin injecting is a particular risk as bacteria live easily in warm and moist places. The risk of infection increases when you share injecting equipment.
Healthy people can carry the bacteria on their skin and in the noses without any symptoms. This means the risk of infection is increased in locations that encourage skin-to-skin contact, such as gyms, prisons and hostels.
MRSA is well known for spreading in hospitals because of the large amounts of people passing through and with patients having healing wounds and existing poor health.
For more information visit NHS Choices.
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