Symptoms and Signs of Hepatitis C (HCV, Hep C)

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Medically Reviewed on 11/1/2021

Doctor's Notes on Hepatitis C (HCV, Hep C)

Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver caused by an infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The hepatitis C virus is typically spread through blood contact, such as blood transfusion, hemodialysis, and needle sticks, especially with intravenous drug abuse. Up to 85% of people infected with HCV will go on to develop a chronic (long-term) infection.

Most people do not have signs or symptoms of HCV when they first acquire the infection. About 25% may have:

Signs and symptoms associated with chronic hepatitis C, if scarring of the liver develops, may include:

What Is the Treatment for Hepatitis C?

Antiviral medications are used in the treatment of hepatitis C, with the goal of having no virus detected in the body after 12 weeks of treatment. Newer antiviral medications for hepatitis C are known as direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). There are a number of antiviral medication options available, and the choice of these is individualized for every patient.

The treatment choice depends on which type of hepatitis C is present and the degree of liver scarring that is already present.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.