I just found out, That my ex-husband has been diagnosed with hepatitus c. First of all, what is it? Will he die from it? Also, is it possible for my boys to get it? Is there someone out there who can answer my questions, and put my mind at ease? Thanks
More often that not, hepatitis C is a life sentence and not a death sentence. Most people with hepatitis C do not die of it.
Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus that can attack the liver and other parts of the body. It is usually associated with liver disease. It is contracted through exposure from blood to blood, even when blood is not seen. Risks from IV drug use, even once in your life, past transfusions, possibly from military service (VA will offer medical help to veterans) tattoos, snorting drugs (again, even once) violence (blood in the eye or exposure to blood, rape, etc)
However, bad lifestyle choices ( drinking alcohol or smoking anything at all) contributes to progression of the disease and harms the liver. Good choices ( healthy weight, good diet, exercise, non-drinker or smoker) can promote health even in a person who has been infected for a long time. Genetics are a factor also, so this can be very individual and a doctor should make an individual assessment.
You should get tested just to ease your own mind. It can be sexually transmitted, but that too, depends on a number of factors. Anything in your history that includes domestic violence is more reason to have a test.
As to your boys. Some people choose to test their children to ease their own minds, some do not. A lot depends on whether there has been any exposure to your ex-husband's blood or any sexual abuse. Children seldom develop chronic hepatitis and have a high rate of spontaneously clearing the virus without any intervention. Depends on the age at which they are exposed.
They are at risk for hepatitis C by virtue of living in the world. Their risk, over time, will depend on their choices as young people and what behaviors they participate in as they experiment with life and social situation. This information about your ex-husband has now given you an opportunity to teach your boys how to protect themselves. Please do that irrespective of what the situation is with their Dad.
More information is available on the website below my name. Check out the link on the homepage (drop down menu) for "thanbey responds" which is a compilation of questions and articles saved over time.
As you learn more, come back and let us know how everything is going. there is nothing to support any custody contention that your husband is a risk to the children based soley on the diagnosis. That has been tried before and failed in the courts every time.
I hope this helps,
hepatitis c outreach project
...all information is intended for general information and is not an attempt to speak to the specifics of any one person's medical situation or decision...........
To Thanbey: Thank you so much for responding to my letter! I went to [url]www.hcop.org[/url], and That too, answered a lot of questions. My ex, and I have been divorced for many, many years, and are both re-married. My main concern was, of course, for my boys. I will, however,let his new wife know what i found out and give her the website also. Once again, Thank You. Because of people like you, we know there is still hope in this crazy world!!!