Territory Stories

74 Brochures Health Education



74 Brochures Health Education

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Tabled Paper 2134


Tabled Papers for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Mike Reed


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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WHAT IS HEPATITIS? WHAT IS HEPATITIS C? HOW IS HEPATITIS C SPREAD? The word hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be caused by viruses or other substances e.g. drugs and toxins. HOW DO I KNOW IF IHAVE HEPATITIS? A person with hepatitis may have tiredness fever loss of appetite nausea (feeling sick in the stomach) pain on the right side below the ribs dark urine pale stools jaundice (skin may go yellow) A person with symptoms of hepatitis should see a doctor. A blood test is necessary to be sure that hepatitis is present and to find out the cause of the hepatitis. Hepatitis C is one of several viruses which cause inflammation of the liver. It has only been identified recently and is probably more common than any of the other viruses that cause hepatitis. About 3 in 1000 Australians carry the virus in their blood. Symptoms vary from person to persoa Some people may have the symptoms described above but most people will not feel ill. A positive hepatitis C antibody test means that a person has previously been in contact with the hepatitis C virus. It does not mean that the person is infectious or that the virus is causing liver damage. Other tests are necessary to see if the liver is affected. HOW IS HEPATITIS C NOT SPREAD? Hepatitis C cannot be passed on by ordinary social contact e.g. shaking hands, hugging, shar ing crockery or toilet facilities. The virus is spread by infected blood, especially by sharing needles and injecting equipmente.g. when using intravenous drugs or tattooing. Since February 1990 Australian blood banks have been testing donated blood for hepatitis C virus. Now infection after transfusion is rare. Unprotected sexual intercourse may be a risk. WHO IS AT RISK? Hepatitis C occurs world wide and can affect anyone. Persons who have an increased risk of hepatitis C infection are: intravenous drug users male homosexuals sex industry workers people who received blood transfusions before testing was avail able (Feb 1990) If you are concerned that you may be at risk of infection with Hepatitis C, consult your doctor for advice about a blood test.

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