Antibodies Proteins produced by the body to fight infection in response to bacteria, viruses or other substances. In the case of hepatitis C, antibodies are produced to fight the virus, and remain in the body long-term regardless of whether the infection is still present.
Antibody Test A blood test looking for antibodies rather than the virus itself.
Blood Awareness Being alert to the potential or actual presence of blood in any situation or environment.
Bulk Billing Government subsidised health care available to people who have a Medicare Card. No additional payments are required.
Chronic An illness or medical condition that lasts for a longer than 6 months
Cirrhosis Extensive and permanent scarring for the liver. Cirrhosis interferes with normal functioning of the liver. Approximately 5-10% of people with hepatitis C develop cirrhosis.
Co-Infection A general term referring to an infection with two or more infectious agents. Hepatitis co-infection refers to infection with hepatitis C and another blood borne virus, such as HIV and/or hepatitis B.
Combination Therapy The use of two or more drugs at the same time to treat hepatitis C infection. This term currently refers to a combination of the drugs interferon and ribavirin.
Complimentary Therapies Various approaches to healing diseases not regarded as part of orthodox medical treatment. In relation to hepatitis C, complimentary therapies are often used to reduce potential side effects of antiviral therapy.
Condom A thin rubber (latex) bag which fits on a man’s erect penis to stop pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Confidentiality A rule that stops health workers, doctors and interpreters from repeating what people tell them or talking about their health to other people. A worker can only repeat what a client says with the client’s permission or in very special situations.
Counsellor A professional who listens to people talk about personal concerns and helps them find a solution. Counsellors follow the rules of confidentiality. Counsellors work at places like community health clinics, mental health services and Family Planning clinics.
Diagnosis What a doctor decides after looking at a patient’s signs, symptoms and medical history; the conclusion a doctor may reach after examining, doing tests and/or talking with their patients.
Discrimination Treating someone unfairly because they are different (immigrants, women, persons living with hepatitis C etc). In Australia many types of discrimination are against the law.
Disease Illness, sickness
Fibroscan A painless test to determine how much liver damage is present.
Genotype A term used to describe the specific genetic structure of hepatitis C. Each genotype causes different immune responses and responds differently to treatment. Hepatitis C genotypes include 1,2,3, and 4.
Hepatitis Means inflammation of the liver. Overuse of alcohol and some viruses can cause hepatitis. The most common forms of viral hepatitis are A, B and C.
HIV The Human Immunodeficiency Virus which can cause AIDS.
Infection Disease related to the presence of a micro-organism (germ) in or on the body. Infections may lead to the infected person becoming ill. Infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites.
Injecting Using a needle and syringe to put drugs into the blood stream, under the skin or into the muscle.
Injecting Drug User (IDU) A term used to describe a person who takes drugs by using a needle and syringe to put drugs into the blood stream or a muscle.
Interferon A substance produced naturally by the body to help defend itself against viral infection. The administration of synthetically manufactured interferon in large doses can help to reduce or get rid of hepatitis C in the blood and slow down or stop the disease process.
Liver Biopsy A clinical procedure in which a small part of the liver is removed to assess the health of the liver.
Monitor To have regular check ups to find out how hepatitis C is progressing or developing.
Side Effect A bad reaction to a medication.
Social Worker A professional person with special training to talk to people about their concerns and to help them find a solution to problems. Social workers follow the rules of confidentiality.
Test A way of finding an illness by taking blood or body fluids from a person and carefully looking at them.
Transmission The passing of a disease from one person to another.
Treatment Something that a person does so that they can stay healthy or get better. Treatments can involve taking medicine, complimentary therapies and/or changes in lifestyle.
Viral Load The amount of virus (hepatitis C) that is found in a person’s blood if they are infected with that virus.
Virus A germ (micro-organism, microbe) which standard antibiotics cannot fight. HIV, hepatitis A, B and C are viruses that cannot be treated by antibiotics but can be treated by antiviral drugs.