Chronic Hepatitis C virus is a viral infection of the liver that is potentially serious and can damage the liver over time, leading to cirrhosis, liver disease and liver cancer. Of the approximately 3.2 million Americans who have chronic HCV, about 1 million are Latino. Developing faster among Latinos, many people, Latino or not, may not know they have the disease. About 70 to 80 percent of newly infected people do not see any symptoms of having the disease, something that Jon Secada, Grammy award winning recording artist and songwriter, calls a “silent killer.”
Secada’s father, who passed away from cirrhosis of the liver in 2011, had HCV for approximately 20 years, he explained and might have even had it while in Cuba.
“There we so many complications attached to his HCV problem and it was already attacking his liver pretty bad,” Secada said. When he found out his father had HCV it was from his mother and he wasn’t aware of the severity of the issue.
“He didn’t pay attention for a long time to anything dealing with his health,” Secada said. “A lot of Hispanics worry about surviving and working and health gets put on the back burner.”
Anyone can get HCV if they come in contact with an infected person’s blood. This can happen from sharing razors or toothbrushes, receiving a blood transfusion before 1992 or having unprotected sex with someone who is infected with hepatitis C.
Once symptoms arise, they can include fever, fatigue, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, yellowing of the skin and eyes, muscle and joint pain and dark urine.
If you have any of these symptoms, or feel that there may be a chance of having HCV, please contact your doctor. For more information about HCV, visit www.tuneintoHepC.com in English or www.hepatitisCTocaElTema.com in Spanish.
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