Hep C Stories

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C (hep C) is a virus that harms the liver. The liver is an organ that does many important jobs, such as changing food into energy, cleaning out toxins from the body and storing vitamins.

The only way to know if you have hepatitis C is to get tested.

Most people who get hep C go on to develop a long-term (or chronic) infection. About one in four people with hep C clears the virus on their own, without treatment; the rest can be cured of hep C by taking medication.

Many people with hepatitis C feel well and do not experience any symptoms for years, but the virus can still be injuring the liver.

Over time the liver can become scarred—this is called fibrosis. If hepatitis C is left untreated and the liver becomes more damaged, a person is more likely to experience symptoms, such as swelling in the legs or yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice). When the liver becomes more severely injured and scarred, this is called cirrhosis. After many years a person may develop liver cancer or their liver could stop working.

There are six strains, or genotypes, of the hepatitis C virus—genotypes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.