Hep C is a disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. A hep C infection can lead to inflammation of the liver and cause the immune system to attack healthy liver cells. It can be spread through blood-to-blood contact or when the blood from a person with hep C comes into contact with another person’s blood.
Most people with hep C don't have noticeable symptoms at first—or ever. That means you may not know you have it.
The most common symptoms of chronic hep C are tiredness and depression.
Hep C is commonly spread by:
Less commonly, hep C is spread by:
Hep C CANNOT be spread by:
The CDC recommends all adults, ages 18+, get a one-time test for hep C.
You should also be tested if:
If you would like to be tested for Hep C for free, submit a request using our easy online form here.
There are ways to lessen the risk of getting the hep C virus that you may want to discuss with your family and friends.
Some of these include:
There are several blood tests that healthcare professionals will perform to find out if you have hep C, including:
It is important to follow up with your healthcare professional about these tests after they are performed.
Hepatitis C includes several distinct genotypes, or genetic strains of the virus. Your healthcare professional will take your viral genotype into consideration when deciding what treatment to offer you, the dosage of your medications, and how long the treatment will last.
There are 6 known major genotypes and more than 50 subtypes of hepatitis C. In the United States, genotype 1 is most common.
"Cured" means that no hep C virus can be found in your blood 3 months after you finish your hep C treatment. 12 weeks after you complete your treatment, your healthcare professional will do a blood test to determine if the hep C virus can still be detected.
Chronic hepatitis C can lead to scarring of the liver (sometimes called “cirrhosis”). In patients with cirrhosis, scar tissue replaces healthy tissue.
Cirrhosis can progress so slowly that people feel no symptoms for years, until damage to the liver has begun to take place. Some visible signs of cirrhosis are red palms, small spider-like veins on your face or body, and fluid in your abdomen (gut area). Approximately 5-25% of people with hep C will develop cirrhosis within 10-20 years. Your healthcare professional will consider whether you have cirrhosis when determining what treatment options are appropriate for you.
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