Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that predominantly infects the cells of the liver. This can result in inflammation and significant damage to the liver.
Hepatitis C often doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms until the liver has been significantly damaged. This means many people have an infection without realising it.
When symptoms do occur, they can be mistaken for another condition. Symptoms can include:
- Flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and high temperature;
- Feeling tired all the time;
- Loss of appetite;
- Abdominal pain;
- Feeling and being sick.
The only way to know for certain if these symptoms are caused by hepatitis C is to get tested.
Those patients who test positive for Hepatitis C should be referred to the local Operational Delivery Network (ODN) for treatment. New hepatitis C treatments are oral tablets for 8-12 weeks and have minimal side effects and over 95% cure rates.
You are more likely to get Hepatitis C if you
- Are an injecting drug user
- Work around blood or needles
- Had a blood transfusion before September 1991
- Have a blood transfusion or medical treatment abroad
- Partake in high risk sexual behaviours; have multiple sexual partners, men who have sex with men, one or both partners have other STIs
- Live with someone who has Hepatitis C
- Share toothbrushes, scissors or razors with someone who has Hepatitis C
- Get body piercings or tattoos with equipment that is not sterile (usually abroad)
- Were born to a mother who has Hepatitis C
- Have been in prison