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If you have hep C, you are not alone. About 2.3 million people are living with chronic hep C in the United States. Below are some commonly asked questions about hep C.

About chronic hepatitis C

What is hep C?

Hep C is a disease caused by a virus that infects the liver. A hep C infection can lead to inflammation of the liver and cause the immune system to attack healthy liver cells. It can be spread through blood-to-blood contact or when the blood from a person with hep C comes into contact with another person’s blood.

What are the symptoms of hep C?

Most people with hep C don’t have noticeable symptoms at first—or ever. That means you may not know you have it.

The most common symptoms of chronic hep Care tiredness and depression.

How is hep C spread?

Hep C is commonly spread by:

  • Sharing drug needles or accidental needlestick injuries
  • Being born to a mother who has hep C

Less commonly, hep C is spread by:

  • Contact with someone’s blood in razors or toothbrushes
  • Sex with an infected person
  • Getting a tattoo or body piercing in an unregulated setting

Hep C CANNOT be spread by:

  • Food, water, or sharing eating utensils
  • Hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing
Who should get tested for hep C?

The CDC recommends all adults, ages 18+, get a one-time test for hep C.

You should also be tested if:

  • You are pregnant (get tested during each pregnancy)
  • You currently inject drugs (get tested regularly)
  • You should also get tested regularly if you share needles, syringes, or other items to prepare your drugs
  • You used to inject drugs, even if it was just once or many years ago
  • You received certain blood products before 1987 or received a blood transfusion or solid organ transplant before 1992
  • You have ever had dialysis
  • You have HIV
  • Your mother had hep C when you were born
  • You are a healthcare worker or public safety worker and were exposed to HCV-positive blood by needle stick, sharps, or mucosal exposure
  • You have abnormal liver tests or liver disease

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