Hepatitis C is a virus that often silently attacks your liver. Hepatitis C is one of six identified hepatitis viruses — the others are A, B, D, E and G. All cause the liver to become inflamed, which interferes with its ability to function. Hepatitis C is generally considered to be among the most serious of these viruses. Most people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have no symptoms at all. In fact, most people don’t know they have the disease until liver damage shows up, decades later, during routine medical tests. Although vaccines exist for hepatitis A and B, no vaccine for hepatitis C has been developed.
Over time, if you have a hepatitis C infection, it can lead to liver cancer, liver failure or cirrhosis — irreversible and potentially fatal scarring of the liver. Unlike HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, the hepatitis C virus usually isn’t transmitted through sexual contact. Instead, you’re more at risk if you’re exposed to contaminated blood — through needles shared during drug use or through blood transfusions.
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Genital herpes is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease. Genital herpes is common, affecting both men and women. Features of genital herpes include pain, itching and sores in your genital area. The cause of genital herpes is a strain of herpes simplex virus (HSV), which enters your body through small breaks in your skin or mucous membranes. Sexual contact is the primary way that the virus spreads. There’s no cure for this recurrent infection, which may cause embarrassment and emotional distress.
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Postherpetic neuralgia is a painful condition affecting your nerve fibers and skin. Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles, a second outbreak of the varicella-zoster virus, which initially causes chickenpox. During an initial infection of chickenpox, some of the virus remains in your body, lying dormant inside nerve cells. Years later, the virus may reactivate, causing shingles. Once reactivated, the virus travels along nerve fibers, causing pain. When the virus reaches your skin, it produces a rash and blisters. A case of shingles (herpes zoster) usually heals within a month. But some people continue to feel pain long after the rash and blisters heal — a pain called postherpetic neuralgia. A variety of treatments for postherpetic neuralgia exist, although you may not experience complete relief from pain. The symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia are generally limited to the area of your skin where the shingles outbreak first occurred. They may include: Continue reading About Postherpetic neuralgia
Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Also known as herpes zoster, it often appears as a band of blisters that wraps from the middle of your back around one side of your chest to your breastbone. Other parts of your body can be involved as well, including your neck, face or scalp.
The pain of shingles can be excruciating, and the cause might not be immediately evident. But once the telltale rash and blisters start on one side of your body, it’s more easily identified as shingles.
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive (dormant) in your nerves. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.
Shingles isn’t a life-threatening condition, but it can be very painful. Sometimes, the rash leads to a debilitating complication called postherpetic neuralgia. This condition causes the skin Continue reading About shingles
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common and widespread virus. Most infections happen during childhood, and the majority of adults carry the virus by the time they’re 40. But most people infected with CMV don’t even know it.
So why worry? In most cases there’s no need to. Infected people carry the virus for life, and usually it remains dormant — rarely causing symptoms throughout their lifetime.
But for some people, generally those with compromised immune systems, there’s a greater risk of becoming very ill or of developing permanent disabilities from CMV. If you’re pregnant and have never been exposed to the virus but develop an active infection, the virus can also cause permanent disabilities in your unborn baby.
There’s no cure for CMV, but some antiviral drugs can help people with compromised immune systems and newborns, though side effects may occur. Researchers are studying new medications and vaccines to treat and prevent CMV.
Most people infected with CMV but who are otherwise healthy exhibit few if any symptoms. In fact, many people never know they have the virus. The type and seriousness of a CMV infection usually depends on your overall health.
When first infected (primary CMV), some adults may have symptoms similar to mononucleosis. Signs and symptoms of primary CMV include: Continue reading About Cytomegalovirus