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Hepatitis G

There is little research that suggests hepatitis G (sometimes called HGV, GB virus C or GBV-C) can cause severe liver disease. It usually occurs as a coinfection in people with chronic hepatitis B or C, or HIV.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with infected blood. This can happen during pregnancy or sexual or blood-to-blood contact.

Most people with hepatitis G have no symptoms.

Treatment and outlook

There is currently no recommended treatment for hepatitis G. However HGV can cause persistent infection for up to nine years in 15 - 30 percent of adults.

What are the symptoms?

Almost no cases have symptoms, similar to the other hepatitis viruses (A, B, C and E). Hepatitis G has a carrier rate of between two and five percent in the general population.

Who is at risk?

Those at high risk are:

  • Injecting drug users

  • Recipients of infected blood or blood products

  • Haemodialysis patients.

Those at medium risk are people:

  • Getting tattoos, acupuncture or body piercings with tools that are not sterile

  • With impaired immune response

  • Who engage in prostitution

  • Who are homosexuals.

How is it spread?

Hepatitis G is spread by infected blood or blood products. It can be transmitted

by sharing personal items contaminated with the virus, and other similar behaviours including from mother-to-baby at birth or by various sexual activities.

How can I prevent the spread?

If you’re regularly exposed to blood or blood products from other people (e.g. if you work in health care), you should protect yourself with gloves to reduce the risk of the spread of viruses.

If you inject drugs, it’s recommended you use clean, sterile needles and avoid sharing needles, syringes or other drug-use equipment.

How is hepatitis G treated?

There is currently no recommended treatment for hepatitis G.

* Information sourced from Canterbury District Health Board


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