Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Hepatitis Health Center

Font Size

Hepatitis C Genotypes - Topic Overview

Six major strains (genotypes) of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) cause infection. You may be infected with more than one genotype at a time.

  • Genotype 1 is the most common strain in the United States.
  • Genotypes 1, 2, and 3 are found worldwide.
  • Genotype 4 is found throughout northern Africa.
  • Genotype 5 commonly is found in South Africa.
  • Genotype 6 is common in Asia.

Genotype testing is done with a blood test.

Recommended Related to Hepatitis

Hepatitis A Symptoms

Hepatitis A (hep A) is a viral infection of the liver that can make you feel like you have the flu. You can catch hepatitis A if you come in close contact with someone who has it. The virus spreads easily among people who live together. It is common among young children, who can easily spread it to other people. You may also get hepatitis A if you eat or drink something contaminated with the virus. Proper hand washing can help reduce your risk. It is very contagious. Here is all you need to...

Read the Hepatitis A Symptoms article > >

How genotype affects treatment

Although genotype tests are not used to diagnose HCV infection, they may be done before treatment begins. Knowing the genotype may help a doctor choose the best treatment plan. You should know your genotype before treatment starts.

Antiviral medicines are more likely to work for people who have genotype 2 or 3.

If blood tests show that you have responded to antiviral therapy (the virus is not detected in your blood) after 6 months, treatment may be:

  • Continued for another 6 months, if you are infected with genotype 1.
  • Stopped, if you are infected with genotype 2 or 3. Prolonging treatment does not seem to provide any more benefit.

The genotype of HCV does not appear to have any effect on the severity of HCV infection or to affect your risk of developing cancer of the liver (hepatocellular carcinoma).

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 06, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Hepatitis C Genotypes Topics

Today on WebMD

Hepatitus C virus
Slideshow
young couple
Article
 
Hepatitis Basics
Article
Hepatitis Prevent 10
Article
 
Hepatitis C Treatment
Article
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool
 
liver illustration
Quiz
passport, pills and vaccine
Slideshow
 
Scientist looking in microscope
Slideshow
Fatty Liver Disease
Article
 
Digestive Diseases Liver Transplantation
Article
Picture Of The Liver
Image Collection