Bits and Pieces - Things that didn't fit elsewhere!

HIV Co-Infection.There are many cases where Hepatitis C and HIV infect the same person. This situation can get very complicated, and is generally outside the scope of my knowledge and also this website. Most of the HIV sites deal well with the subject, so I will bow out gracefully and leave it to them!

Cramps and Muscle Spasms These are a common problem whilst on treatment. I have found that tonic water, as in gin-and-tonic without the gin, works very well, usually inside 20 minutes. Try it!

Compensation If you were infected with Hep C in the course of medical treatment in the UK you may be entitled to ex-gratia compensation. The sums involved are substantial, and you would be foolish not to claim. Ask your doctor to give you the information, or look here.

Prescription Charges If you live in England and pay for your prescriptions and need more than 5 prescription items in four months, or 14 in a year it pays to get a pre-payment certificate. This obviously covers many people on Hepatitis C treatment, as five prescription items doesn't go far! For Hepatitis C patients, it makes sense to start with a four month certificate as there is a chance (God forbid!) that treatment could be ended at three months. Check with your treatment centre as to how many prescriptions they will be writing for you, and if it is more than five in three months get a certificate. You can get an application form (type FP95) at post offices and many chemists, or if you have a credit/debit card you can do it over the phone by calling 0845 850 0030, or you can do it on line here. If you think that you may be exempt from prescription charges, you can check here. To give you a rough idea, as from April 2005 a single prescription item will cost 6.50, a four month certificate 33.90, and a one year certificate 93.20.

Transplantation and Organ Donation Unfortunately, Hepatitis C patients are excluded from being able to donate organs as the virus would transfer. There is one surprising exception to this rule, namely the liver. It is quite practical to transplant the liver of a Hepatitis C patient who has met an accidental death into another Hep C patient who's liver has failed. Any non-infected liver would become infected, so the fact that the new liver carries the virus is not an issue. This assumes of course that the liver is in a reasonable condition. Carry a donor card that is marked 'HCV - Liver Only' and make sure that your next of kin are aware of your wishes. A fellow Hep C sufferer could be very grateful for your generousity, as could you of someone else's should you need a liver transplant. There is something strangely ironic about the thought of your liver being cured of its Hep C after your death!

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