The following information will help answer some of your questions about hepatitis C. It will also provide information about the different ways to treat hepatitis C.
What is hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C causes inflammation of the liver. Inflammation is swelling that occurs when tissues of the body become injured or infected. This can cause your liver to not work properly. Having hepatitis C for a long time can lead to other problems such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver failure, and liver cancer.
How is hepatitis C spread?
You can get hepatitis C when blood from an infected person enters your body. This can happen if you:
- Share drug needles or syringes to inject drugs with an infected person.
- Are born to a mother who has hepatitis C.
- Are tattooed or pierced with unsterilized tools that were used on an infected person.
- Are accidentally stuck with a needle that was used on an infected person.
- Use an infected person's razor or toothbrush.
- Have unprotected sex with an infected person.
How is hepatitis C treated?
Hepatitis C is treated with medications that slow or stop liver damage. There is no vaccine to prevent it. Treatment often involves taking combinations of different antiviral medications to help fight the hepatitis C virus. Antiviral medications used to treat hepatitis C include:
- Injectable medications called interferons. These block the virus from entering the liver cells and help your immune system stop the virus from multiplying.
- Oral medications that prevent the virus from making more copies of itself.
View a video with more information on Hepatitis C treatment and care.
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