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, the the liver will 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. You can be at risk for hepatitis C if:
- You use shared needles/syringes, razors, or toothbrushes with someone who has hepatitis C.
- You have gotten a tattoo or piercing with tools that have not been sterilized properly.
- You 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 you do notice symptoms, you may experience a 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 higher risk, testing should happen more often.
Medications typically cure hepatitis C within 8-12 weeks. Most people will only require one pill containing a few different medications to treat their hepatitis C. Remembering to take your medication as prescribed will usually cure your hepatitis C. Common medications used to treat hepatitis C include:
- Epclusa® (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir)
- Mavyret® (glecaprevir/pibrentasvir)
- Vosevi® (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir/voxilapravir)
For more information about hepatitis C, see these resources:
• American Liver Foundation
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• Hepatitis Foundation International
AASLD-IDSA. Recommendations for testing, managing, and treating hepatitis C. http://www.hcvguidelines.org. [24 Mar 2023].