Hepatitis C can be deadly, but it often shows no symptoms.
An estimated 3.2 million people in the United States live with chronic hepatitis C. The longer people live with hepatitis C, the more likely they are to develop serious, life-threatening liver disease. But hepatitis C can go undetected—for decades, in many cases—because many people experience no visible symptoms.
3 out of 4 people infected with hepatitis C are Baby Boomers.
The rate of chronic hepatitis C is highest among African Americans, who are twice as likely to get infected. Other groups highly affected by hepatitis C are persons who inject drugs, formerly and currently incarcerated individuals, and men who have sex with men. Heterosexual transmission and transmission from mother to child also occurs, although at a lower rate.
Getting tested is the only way to know if you have hepatitis C.
Testing is widely available, via your healthcare provider.
The CDC recommends hepatitis C testing for all people who:
- Were born from 1945 through 1965
- Received donated blood or organs before 1992
- Have ever injected drugs, even if it was just once or many years ago
- Have certain medical conditions, such as chronic liver disease and HIV or AIDS
- Have abnormal liver tests or liver disease
- Have been exposed to blood from a person who has hepatitis C
- Are on hemodialysis
- Are born to a mother with hepatitis C
For more information, visit cdc.gov/hepatitis C.
Persons for whom hepatitis C testing should be considered
- Intranasal cocaine and other non-injecting illegal drug users
- Persons with a history of unregulated tattooing or body piercing
- Persons with a history of multiple sex partners or sexually transmitted diseases
- Long-term steady sex partners of HCV-positive persons
Hepatitis C can be cured. New, effective treatments with few side effects for most patients are available.
Treatment depends on many different factors, so it is important to see a doctor experienced in treating hepatitis C. To get tested or treated for hepatitis C, find a healthcare provider near you.