Hepatitis C can be treated and even cured. And treatment is important -- hepatitis C, caused by a virus, can permanently damage your liver if you don't take medicine for it.
Treatment for hepatitis C keeps changing quickly. The standard treatment was typically interferon along with other drugs -- usually ribavirin and either boceprevir (Victrelis) or telaprevir (Incivek). But newer drugs simeprevir (Olysio) and sofosbuvir (Solvadi) cure more people in less time with fewer side effects. Doctors hope that in the future more people will be able to stop taking interferon. Many people have a hard time with its side effects, which include fatigue, fever, chills, and depression. However, you can work with your doctor to manage these. And these drugs may mean that people won't have to take interferon for as long, so that may also help reduce side effects. There are also now newer drugs that do not require interferon. In November 2014, the FDA approved simeprevir (Olysio) in combination with sofosbuvir (Solvadi) as a Interferon- and Ribavirin- free treatment option. Ledipasvir-sofosbuvir (Harvoni), and ombitasvir, paritaprevir-dasabuvir-ritonavir (Viekira Pak) also cure more people in less time. Most recently, elbasvir and grazoprevir (Zepatier) was approved as a once daily pill with high cure rates.
More than 3 million Americans have a long-term infection from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Anyone who has this disease can give it to someone else through blood and other bodily fluids.
Once you've learned what situations make you likely to catch it, though, you can take steps to protect yourself or get diagnosed and treated.