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Hepatitis C

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by Alan R

(HCV; Hep C)



Eighty percent of people with hepatitis C have no symptoms. Over time, the disease can cause serious liver damage.
Symptoms may include:
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
  • Darker colored urine
  • Loose, light, or chalky colored stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Aches and pains
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Joint pain
  • Cigarette smokers may suddenly dislike the taste of cigarettes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
Chronic hepatitis C may cause some of the above symptoms, as well as:
  • Weakness
  • Severe fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
Serious complications of hepatitis C include:
  • Chronic infection that will lead to cirrhosis (scarring) and progressive liver failure
  • Increased risk of liver cancer


To prevent becoming infected with hepatitis C:
  • Do not inject illicit drugs. Shared needles have the highest risk. Seek help to stop using drugs .
  • Do not have sex with partners who have sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • Practice safe sex (using latex condoms ) or abstain from sex.
  • Limit your number of sexual partners.
  • Do not share personal items that might have blood on them, such as:
    • Razors
    • Toothbrushes
    • Manicuring tools
    • Pierced earrings
  • Avoid handling items that may be contaminated by HCV-infected blood.
  • Donate your own blood before elective surgery to be used if you need a blood transfusion.
To prevent spreading hepatitis C to others if you are infected:
  • Tell your dentist and physician before receiving check-ups or treatment.
  • Get both a hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccination.
  • Do not donate blood or organs for transplant.


American Liver Foundation

Hepatitis Foundation International



Canadian Liver Foundation

Health Canada



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Hepatitis C. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated March 14, 2011. Accessed October 15, 2012.

Hepatitis C. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: September 10, 2012. Accessed October 15, 2012.

Sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus among HIV-infected men who have sex with men—New York City, 2005-2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011 Jul 22;60:945-50.

Sexually transmitted diseases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated August 31, 2012. Accessed October 15, 2012.

What is a blood transfusion? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: Updated January 30, 2012. Accessed October 15, 2012.

What I need to know about hepatitis C. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: Published April 2009. Updated May 10, 2012. Accessed October 15, 2012.

12/9/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance US Food & Drug Administration. FDA news release: FDA approves new treatment for hepatitis C virus. Food & Drug Administration website. Published November 22, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2013.

4/29/2014 12/9/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases/Infectious Diseases Society of America (AASLD/IDSA) recommendations on testing, managing, and treating hepatitis C. Available at: Updated March 21, 2014. Accessed April 29, 2014.


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