Hepatitis C is an infection of the liver. It's caused by the hepatitis C virus. About 3.2 million people in the U.S. have the disease, but because the virus causes so few symptoms, most of them don't know they have it.
There are many types of hepatitis C virus. The most common in the U.S. is type 1. No type is more serious than any other, but they respond differently to treatment.
If you've just been diagnosed with hepatitis C, you may worry about passing on the virus to a loved one. If you've had the disease for a long time without knowing it, you may dwell on every little incident in the past where you might have accidentally exposed a family member to the disease.
"Worrying about passing on the disease is pretty common," says Alan Franciscus, executive director of the Hepatitis C Support Project in San Francisco. "I see a lot of people who are HCV-positive who are more...
You can get a blood test to see if you have the hepatitis C virus.
Are There Any Long-Term Effects of Hepatitis C?
Yes. In people who have hepatitis C, 75% to 85% may develop a long-term infection. Hepatitis C is one of the top reasons that people need a liver transplant.
What's the Treatment for Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C treatments have changed a lot in recent years. The latest is a once-daily pill called Harvoni that cures the disease in most people in 8-12 weeks. It combines two drugs: Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and ledipasvir. In clinical trials, the most common side effects were fatigue and headache.