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Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer.

Hepatitis C can cause liver cancer and approximately 50% of all liver cancer cases in the U.S. are related to the hepatitis C virus. Most people who do contract the virus do not know they have it and do not receive available curative treatment that can prevent liver cancer.

Hepatitis C becomes a chronic infection for 75-85% of infected people, but it can also be a short-term illness for some. Chronic hepatitis C can cause lifelong health problems.

You can be tested for hepatitis C, and if you test positive, treated for the virus. This would greatly reduce your risk of liver cancer.


Get tested

There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C. Get tested according to guidelines*, and if you test positive, get treated for the virus to prevent liver cancer.

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

All adults: Hepatitis C testing

Every adult ages 18–79 should be tested for hepatitis C at least once in their lifetime. If you test positive for the virus, curative treatments are available.

People who are pregnant

Any person who is pregnant (regardless of age), should be screened for hepatitis C.

People who have other risk factors

Any person with other risk factors (regardless of age), including having human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), should be screened for hepatitis C.

Know your risk for hepatitis C

You are at increased risk for hepatitis C infection if you:

  • Are exposed to blood through your work.
  • Were born between 1945 and 1965.
  • Have injected recreational drugs and shared needles.
  • Received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before July 1992 (when blood and organs started being screened for hepatitis C).
  • Have had a tattoo or body piercing done without proper infection control (such as with unsterile equipment).
  • Were treated for a blood clotting problem before 1987.
  • Are Black.
  • Are on long-term hemodialysis.
  • Are infected with HIV.
  • Have had sex without a condom with someone who is infected.
  • Were assigned male at birth and have sex with others assigned male at birth.
  • Were born to someone who had hepatitis C while pregnant.


Reduce your risk for hepatitis C and liver cancer

You can contract hepatitis C through blood-to-blood contact with a person who has the infection. Follow this guidance* to reduce your risk:

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Icon illustration of a magnifying glass.

Get screened for hepatitis C.

Get screened for hepatitis C at least once in your lifetime, or more often based on your personal risk factors. If you test positive, get treated for the virus.

Icon illustration of a condom package.

Practice safer sex.

Use a new condom the right way every time you have sex to protect yourself. This does not provide 100% protection.

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Do not share needles.

Do not share needles to inject drugs.

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis C

Most people with short-term hepatitis C do not experience symptoms or only have mild symptoms. Most people with chronic hepatitis C do not have symptoms, or may show symptoms of chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis (liver scarring) or liver cancer.

Talk to you a health care provider if you are experiencing:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored or pale stools
  • Abdominal pain (especially in the right upper abdomen)
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Itching
  • Yellowing of the skin (jaundice) or white part of eyes (sclera)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting