Hepatitis C is the most common type of viral hepatitis in the UK. It's usually contracted when blood comes into contact with infected blood, such as through sharing needles.
Watch our video to find out more about testing and treatment for hep C:
There is no vaccination to prevent you catching hep C.
People that contract hepatitis C have mild or no symptoms and those that do only have them for a few weeks (including fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea or vomiting).
Sometimes people only discover they have hepatitis C after decades of having little or no symptoms and by then they may have developed chronic hepatitis (liver damage). Symptoms of chronic hepatitis include: fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, joint and muscle ache, itching, and memory or concentration problems. If not treated the liver may stop functioning properly and in a small number of cases it can lead to liver cancer.
Is there a cure for hepatitis C?
20% of people who contract the virus will clear it themselves within 6 months. For those that do not there is a new treatment available in the UK.
Using the current medicines, more than 90% of people with hepatitis C can be cured and there are little to no side effects.
If you are using substances such as drugs or alcohol you can still have treatment for hep C. The regime is generally one tablet per day and you can be treated in 8-12 weeks. The treatment that was used a few years ago was called interferon and consisted of injections. This treatment was longer (6-12 months) and generally made people feel very unwell. The new treatment options are more effective and have fewer side effects.
We are working with NHS Trusts to bring hep C treatment in-house to our services – speak to a member of the team at your local service to find out more.
It is still possible to contract hep C again once you have received treatment, so it’s important to take steps to prevent yourself becoming infected again.