What is Hepatitis C?

doctor-563428_1280Hepatitis C is a disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. Over time, it can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus. It is spread by contact with an infected person’s blood.

Often times a person doesn’t know that they have hepatitis C until they already have some level of liver damage. This can take many years. Some people who get hepatitis C have it for a short time and then get better. This is called acute hepatitis C. But most people who are infected with the virus go on to develop long-term, or chronic, hepatitis C. Although hepatitis C can be very serious, most people can manage the disease and lead active, full lives.

Contracting the virus
You can get hepatitis C the following ways:
*By sharing needles and other equipment used to inject illegal drugs. This is the most common way to get hepatitis C in the United States.
*You had a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992. As of 1992 in the United States, all donated blood and organs are screened for hepatitis C.
*You get a shot with a needle that has infected blood on it. This happens in some developing countries where they use needles more than once when giving shots.
*You get a tattoo or a piercing with a needle that has infected blood on it. This can happen if equipment isn’t cleaned properly after it is used.

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