Know Your Status — Get Tested

Know Your Status — Get Tested.

That’s the message for those born between 1945 and 1975. Three out of four Canadians who have hepatitis C (HCV) fall within this age bracket.

Del Grimstad is one of those, but has successfully treated the virus that mostly attacks the liver, but can also cross the brain barrier.

“Which we’ve suspected for many years, but they finally got proof of it,” said Grimstad, a harm reduction worker at AIDS Vancouver Island (AVI) who co-facilitates a local Hep C peer group. He also co-chairs HepCBC in Victoria, and is part of a steering committee for Action Hepatitis Canada.

Many people infected with hep C never feel sick and recover. Others get a brief illness with fatigue and loss of appetite, and their skin and eyes turn yellow. If one’s body is not able to fend off the virus, a person may develop chronic hepatitis, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure or cancer. Like chronic hep B, chronic hep C is a ‘silent’ disease because symptoms often don’t appear until one’s liver is severely damaged.

“The virus itself is a very virulent virus,” said Grimstad, noting HCV is contracted blood to blood. “We think at least 25 per cent of people that have it don’t know it. That’s concerning because then they can unknowingly pass it on…One of the problems with the virus is that it mutates very readily.”

Percentage wise, he said 25 to 30 per cent of people “spontaneously clear” their body of the virus. For the remainder, about 30 per cent develop cirrhosis.

“About 20 per cent of those eventually go on to cancer — if left untreated,” Grimstad said.

As opposed to costly liver replacements, he treatments are now a pill a day with no side effects.

Friday, July 28 is World Hepatitis Day. FMI: hepcbc.ca or whdcanada.org

AVI is located at 355 Sixth St. in Courtenay.

Just Posted

Tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 8.0 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Tsunami warning issued for Coastal B.C.

It is recommended that individuals residing below 20 metres should move to higher ground.

Mount Washington re-opens three lifts

For the first time in nearly a decade, Mount Washington closed due… Continue reading

Drugs – including fentanyl – seized in Courtenay traffic stop

Minor among the four people arrested and charged

Smoking ban arrives on BC Ferries

No crackdown, just education as BC Ferries enacts smoking ban

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Union Bay Improvement District approves putting off letter to CVRD on pros and cons of conversion

CAO says there are other priorities Union Bay should focus on before addressing conversion to CVRD

Ice continues to roll

It was deja vu last week for the Isfeld Ice senior boys… Continue reading

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Most Read