You may or may not receive treatment for
hepatitis C, depending on:
- How damaged your liver is.
- Other health conditions
- How much hepatitis C virus you have in your body.
- What type (genotype) of hepatitis C you have.
The medicines used to treat hepatitis C can cause serious
side effects, are expensive, and don't work for everyone.
Being diagnosed with
hepatitis C can change your life. You may need help and support to cope with the illness. For more information, see Home Treatment.
Treatment of short-term (acute) hepatitis C
people who have acute hepatitis C don't get treated, because they don't know that they
have the virus.
If a person knows that he or she may have been
exposed to the virus—such as a health care worker who is stuck by a
needle—acute hepatitis C can be found early. Most people who are known to
have an acute hepatitis C infection get treated with medicine. In these cases,
treatment may help prevent long-term (chronic) infection,
although there is still some debate over when to begin treatment and how long
to treat acute hepatitis C.6
Treatment of long-term (chronic) hepatitis C
is common for people to live with hepatitis C for years without knowing they
have it, because they do not have symptoms. So most people diagnosed with
hepatitis C find out that they already have long-term, chronic infection.
Treatment with a combination of antiviral medicines can fight the viral
infection and prevent serious liver problems like cirrhosis or liver cancer. They are used for 12 weeks to a year and help your body get rid of the virus.
Whether or not you take medicines to treat
hepatitis C, you will need to have routine blood tests
to help your doctor know how well your liver is working.
Some people who at first decide not to have
treatment later decide they want to have it.
Your doctor can help you decide whether
medicines are right for you.
- Hepatitis C: Should I Take Antiviral Medicine?