Hepatitis C virus appears to affect males more often than females, but experts do not know why. Signs of an infection include fatigue, fever, and jaundice, but some people have no symptoms.
According to a 2019 report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, doctors diagnose 21 males with hepatitis C for every 10 females with the condition. An estimated 2.4 million people are living with hepatitis C in the United States.
Researchers do not know exactly why males have more severe side effects and faster disease progression. However, a
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Hepatitis C is a type of
The virus can cause liver damage and even lifelong cirrhosis or cancer.
Types of hepatitis C
The genotype of the HCV affects how a person responds to treatment.
The genotypes of hepatitis C include:
- Genotype 1: This genotype accounts for about 70–75% of all HCV infections in the U.S. Genotypes 1a and 1b play a role in approximately 60% of global HCV infections.
- Genotype 2: About 13–15% of all HCV infections in the U.S. involve this genotype.
- Genotype 3: This genotype is most common in Southeast Asia. There is also an
associationbetween this genotype and drug misuse.
- Genotype 4: This genotype is more prevalent in the Middle East, Egypt, and central Africa.
- Genotype 5: Genotype 5 predominantly occurs in South Africa.
- Genotype 6: This genotype is most common in China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia.
- Genotype 7: Genotype 7 is
most prevalentin central Africa.
The most common genotypes in the U.S. are genotypes 1, 2, and 3.
When an acute hepatitis C infection does cause symptoms, they may
- appetite loss
- body aches and pains
- yellow discoloration of the skin or eyes
- dark urine
- pale feces
In some people, the body clears hepatitis C without any medical intervention. However, this is not always the case, and the virus may progress to a chronic infection.
Healthcare professionals sometimes call hepatitis C a “silent infection” because a lack of symptoms can mean that people have it for a long time without being aware.
If symptoms do arise, a person may wish to consult a doctor for a diagnosis.
According to the
However, it is much more common for hepatitis C to transmit through the use of shared needles than through sexual contact.
People are also
- have a history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or HIV
- have sex with multiple people
- engage in rough sex
Some risk factors also cause a person to be more likely to experience liver scarring from hepatitis C. Excessive scarring may lead to liver failure. According to the
A person should speak with a doctor about how to treat hepatitis C and reduce the risk of their condition worsening.
It is very possible that the number of people with hepatitis C is much higher than estimates suggest, as some people do not know that they have the condition.
For this reason, the
- children born to a mother with hepatitis C
- people who currently use or formerly used injectable drugs
- any person taking clotting factor concentrates that manufacturers produced before 1987
- any person who underwent a blood transfusion or solid organ transplant before July 1992
- any person undergoing hemodialysis
- people with abnormal levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT)
- healthcare workers
- people who have HIV
A blood test can determine whether or not a person has HCV.
Hepatitis C is capable of causing a chronic infection that could lead to
However, available treatments can cure hepatitis C in
A person can get the virus again, though. Also, medications that may cure hepatitis C do not reverse the damage that the liver has already sustained in the form of scarring.
As a result, a doctor will usually recommend refraining from drinking alcohol and not taking medications that the liver usually metabolizes. This is to reduce the risk of further liver damage.
There are vaccines to prevent a person from contracting hepatitis A and hepatitis B, but
It is important that people take
Examples of these measures include:
- using barrier methods, such as condoms, during sexual activities
- avoiding sharing needles
- seeking reputable tattoo and body piercing parlors for any body art
If a person suspects that they may be at risk of hepatitis C, they should seek advice from a doctor.
Below, we answer some of the most common questions about hepatitis C in males.
What are the symptoms of hepatitis C in males?
Most people who acquire an acute HCV infection do not have any specific symptoms.
However, a person experiencing an acute HCV infection may
- dark urine
- appetite loss
- a minor fever
- gray-colored feces
- abdominal pain
- joint pain
How long can a person live after contracting hepatitis C?
The length of time a person can live after contracting hepatitis C depends on a number of factors, including whether the infection is acute or chronic and whether other complications have occurred.
What does hepatitis C pain feel like?
Hepatitis C affects males more often than females.
If a person with hepatitis C seeks immediate medical care, a doctor can diagnose and treat them before they experience severe complications, such as cirrhosis.
Anyone with known risk factors for hepatitis C should talk with a doctor about undergoing testing.