What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is an infection that affects the liver. The hepatitis C virus causes this infection. If you have hepatitis C, it can result in the liver stopping working properly over time. If left untreated, hepatitis C may cause liver scarring, liver failure, or liver cancer.
Hepatitis C infection spreads through the blood. Therefore, you can be at risk for hepatitis C if:
• Use shared needles/syringes, razors, or toothbrushes with someone who has hepatitis C
• Have gotten a tattoo or piercing with tools that have not been sterilized properly
• Have unprotected sex with someone who has hepatitis C
• Your mother had hepatitis C when she gave birth to you.
Many people will not notice any symptoms of hepatitis C. If people do notice symptoms, the symptoms are normally headache and tiredness. As these symptoms are common in many people, only a test will confirm that a person has hepatitis C.
All people 18 years and older should be tested for hepatitis C. The testing should happen at least once in their lifetime. If someone is at more high risk, testing should happen more often.
Hepatitis C can be cured usually within 8-12 weeks. Many people will only require one pill containing a few different medications to treat their hepatitis C.
• American Liver Foundation
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Hepatitis Foundation International