Hepatitis C

Source: U.S Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, long-term illness.

  • Acute hepatitis c

    Develops within 6 months after exposure. While it can be short-term for some, most cases progress to chronic infection.

  • Chronic hepatitis C

    Untreated chronic hepatitis C can persist for life, leading to severe health issues like liver damage, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and potentially fatal outcomes.

An estimated 2.4 million people were living with hepatitis C in the United States.


HCV is primarily transmitted through exposure to infected blood.

  • Sharing needles or equipment for injecting drugs
  • Needlestick injuries in healthcare settings
  • Sex with an infected person(s)
  • Unregulated tattoos or body piercings
  • Sharing personal items that may come into contact with infected blood (even small undetectable amounts)
  • Birth (6% chance)


You should get tested for hepatitis C if you:

  • Are 18 years of age and older (get tested at least once in your lifetime)
  • Are pregnant (get tested during each pregnancy)
  • Currently inject drugs (get tested regularly)
  • Have ever injected drugs, even if it was just once or many years ago
  • Have HIV
  • Have abnormal liver tests or liver disease
  • Are on hemodialysis
  • Received donated blood or organs before July 1992
  • Received clotting factor concentrates before 1987
  • Have been exposed to blood from a person who has hepatitis C
  • Were born to a mother with hepatitis C

Treatment and Management

What is the treatment for hepatitis C?

Treatment for acute or chronic hepatitis C is recommended for all individuals, including non-pregnant women, children aged ≥3 years, and adolescents. Modern therapies typically last 8–12 weeks, involving oral medication with over 90% cure rates and minimal side effects. The FDA provides a list of approved treatments for hepatitis C.

ribbon with Red and yellow stripes isolated on white.

What can people with chronic hepatitis C do to protect the liver?

Individuals with chronic hepatitis C, including those with cirrhosis, should undergo regular monitoring by a doctor, even if they've been cured, due to the ongoing risk of advanced liver disease complications, including liver cancer.

Those living with hepatitis C should:

  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
  • Avoid alcohol to prevent additional liver damage.
  • Consult their doctor before taking any medications or supplements, as these could harm the liver.
  • Get tested for HIV because co-infection increases the likelihood of developing cirrhosis.

Get tested for hepatitis C

Discover the power of knowledge and take control of your health. Get tested for Hepatitis C. Early detection is key to preventing liver damage and serious health complications.

Visit the Uncas Health District Calendar for upcoming testing events in your community. Your proactive step today can safeguard your tomorrow.

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