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Hepatitis C

What is it?

Hepatitis C is a virus that can cause inflammation of the liver.

How did I get it?

The main way of getting Hepatitis C is through sharing dirty needles, syringes and other drug using equipment.

  • It is most common amongst drug users.

  • Tattooing, body piercing - if dirty equipment is used.

  • Through a blood transfusion in a country where blood is not screened (it is screened in the UK).

  • There is a slight chance that it can be passed on through unprotected sex.

What are the symptoms?

Very often there are no symptoms and it may be years before someone shows any signs of illness.

What will it do to me?

You can carry the virus for years with no signs but your are infectious.

After some years, possibly 20 years or more someone may develop liver damage or liver cancer, which could lead to death.

Where can I go?

To get a test you can go to a Doctor or local GU Medicine/Sexual Health clinic or local drug agency.

If you have a test that shows that you have Hepatitis C, you will be referred to a liver specialist.

Can it be treated?

There is a treatment available but it often has side effects and there is no definite cure at the moment.

You will need regular check-ups including blood tests to see how the virus is affecting the liver.

HELPLINE British Liver Trust 01473 276328

Always wearing a condom during sex will reduce the risk of becoming infected.

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