You may be someone who has hep C, or know someone else who has it. Or you might be a health professional looking for information about hep C to give to your patients.
Our hep C resources aim to provide clear and valuable information that is easy to read. We want you to be able to make the best health choices for you.
What is Hep C?
Of all the types of hepatitis, the three most common viruses (in Australia) are hep A, hep B and hep C. If you’re unsure about the differences between these viruses, our comparison chart can help clear up any confusion.
Hep C is an easily-cured liver infection that is caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact with someone with hep C.The virus is slow acting and symptoms may not appear for many years. Hep C can cause long-term liver health problems if left untreated.
Who Is Most At Risk of Hep C Transmission?
Hep C is called a blood-borne virus. It is transmitted when blood (from someone with hep C) gets into another persons bloodstream. It can be amounts of blood that are so small you can’t see them. This is called “blood-to-blood contact.” The hepatitis C virus can survive outside the body from around 12 hours to a few weeks. In most cases it won’t last longer than four days.
Sharing or reusing other people’s needles and syringes (fits) or other drug injecting equipment is the most common way that people in Australia get hep C. Around eight out of ten people with hep C in Australia got it this way. Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) can help you with health advice and sterile (new) equipment.
Tattooing and body piercing are also risks for hep C. They both involve equipment that comes in contact with blood. If you get a tattoo or piercing from someone who doesn’t use sterile equipment, or doesn’t have proper training, you could be at risk for hep C.
How Do I know if I Have Hep C?
Close to 200,000 people across NSW have hepatitis C, but don’t know they have it.
If you think you might be at risk of hep C, it’s very important to get tested and know your status. This is because hep C is now easy to cure since the new treatments became available in 2016.
What Should I Do If I Test Positive For Hep C?
Curing your hep C clears the virus from your body. It helps reduce liver inflammation and can help reverse fibrosis and even cirrhosis. Once you are cured, the virus is cleared from your body, and it means you can’t pass it on to someone else.
There has been no better time to think about hep C treatment. The new cures are different to the previous treatments because they:
- Cure around 95%, or more, of people who take them (even if you have cirrhosis).
- Have minimal side-effects.
- They last for just 8 or 12 weeks (in most cases).
- They involve just a few pills each day (with no injections).
You can get hep C again after being cured, so if you are at risk, make sure you get tested and treated again.
Learn More About Hep C
Want to find out more about hep C? We’re here with loads of resources to help you make the best health choices for you. Our hepatitis C FAQs aim to quickly answer the most commonly asked hep C questions. You might have had hep C for several years, or you might have been diagnosed with hep C recently. In any case, our hep C FAQs are for you.
You can also call the free Hepatitis Infoline to speak to someone who knows a lot about hep C, and who can help you decide what’s best for you and your health. Call 1800 803 990 today.