What is hepatitis C (HCV)?

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus that attacks the liver, causing inflammation and other problems. In this video, liver transplant surgeon Dr. Robert Brown discusses the long-term effects of hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a virus that spreads from blood-to-blood contact. For example, you’re at risk for catching the virus if you abused intravenous (IV) drugs or received a blood transfusion before 1992.  Hepatitis C can affect the liver and cause other health problems. It can change how your body manages insulin, which can make you more likely to get diabetes. It can also affect the kidneys and blood vessels and cause kidney disease. It is important to get screened for Hepatitis C and receive treatment, if you have the disease.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

Caused by a virus, hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that can lead to significant and even life-threatening problems, including liver failure, scarring (cirrhosis) and cancer. Chronic hepatitis C is the most common reason for liver transplants.

Hepatitis C is spread through infected blood.

Hepatitis C infection may also play a role in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, diabetes, stroke and skin disorders.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Hepatitis C is a liver disease. Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Inflammation is the painful, red swelling that results when tissues of the body become injured or infected. Inflammation can cause organs to not work properly.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and can be transmitted through blood contact. Because of the lack of symptoms during early stages, hepatitis C is usually not diagnosed until its damage is well advanced.

Hepatitis C (once called non-A, non-B hepatitis) is a liver disease caused by a recently identified blood-borne virus discovered in 1989. This strain of acute viral hepatitis causes approximately 20,000 new infections in the U.S. each year.
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C infection is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and can be transmitted through contact with blood infected with the virus. Hepatitis C infection can be acute or chronic. Acute hepatitis C  can last as long as 6 months and then clear up on its own. However, the infection usually turns into chronic (long-term) hepatitis C, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but treatments are available to control, or in many cases, cure the infection.

Hepatitis C is generally a chronic disease and is contracted through blood-to-blood contact.

Continue Learning about Hepatitis C

How Do I Know If My Hep C Treatment Worked?
How Do I Know If My Hep C Treatment Worked?
A person will have a number of blood tests while being treated for hep C. In this video, learn what those tests are, how often they’re conducted and h...
Read More
How effective are daclatasvir and sofosbuvir?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Daclatasvir and sofosbuvir has been reported to lower viral load within 12 weeks in over 90% of peop...
More Answers
The Best and Worst Foods for Hep C
The Best and Worst Foods for Hep CThe Best and Worst Foods for Hep CThe Best and Worst Foods for Hep CThe Best and Worst Foods for Hep C
Find out which foods you should (and shouldn't) eat with hepatitis C.
Start Slideshow
What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis C?
What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis C?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.