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(HCV; Hep C)
by Rick Alan
Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver. Over time, it can cause serious liver damage if it is not treated.
Hepatitis C is caused by a virus (HCV). The virus can be spread:
The hepatitis C virus is not spread through food or water.
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that may increase your chance of hepatitis C include:
Symptoms may not be present or be too minor to notice. People with symptoms may have any of the following:
Long term (chronic) hepatitis C may also cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health issues. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may suspect hepatitis based on your risk factors. Blood tests will be done to confirm hepatitis by looking for:
Other tests may be done to rule out other liver conditions.
In some people, the infection may go away on its own. It is important to follow up with the doctor to make sure the infection has cleared.
If the infection does not pass, the goal of treatment is to:
To prevent spreading hepatitis C to others:
If you were born between 1945 and 1965, you should get tested for hepatitis C infection.
To prevent a hepatitis C infection:
If you are having a planned surgery, ask if you may need a blood transfusion. You can donate your blood before the surgery. The blood used in surgery will be your own.
American Liver Foundation
Hepatitis Foundation International
Canadian Liver Foundation
2015 Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
Acute hepatitis C infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T413896/Acute-hepatitis-C-infection . Updated April 27, 2017. Accessed August 21, 2017.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus among HIV-infected men who have sex with men—New York City, 2005-2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011;60(28):945-950.
Chronic hepatitis C infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115157/Chronic-hepatitis-C-infection . Updated June 5, 2017. Accessed August 21, 2017.
Explore blood transfusion? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at:
Hepatitis C: screening. US Preventive Services Task Force website. Available at: https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/hepatitis-c-screening?ds=1&s=hepatitis%20C. Updated June 2013. Accessed March 14, 2018.
Viral hepatitis—hepatitis C information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
What are my treatment options? Hep C 1,2,3—American Liver Foundation website. Available at:
What I need to know about hepatitis C. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
12/9/2013 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115157/Hepatitis-C : US Food & Drug Administration. FDA news release: FDA approves new treatment for hepatitis C virus. Food & Drug Administration website. Accessed October 8, 2015.
4/29/2014 12/9/2013 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115157/Hepatitis-C: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases/Infectious Diseases Society of America (AASLD/IDSA) recommendations on testing, managing, and treating hepatitis C. Available at:
10/8/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115157/Hepatitis-C: British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) recommendations on testing for sexually transmitted infections in men who have sex with men. Available at:
Last reviewed September 2018 by Michael Woods, MD FAAP
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