Talk to your healthcare
professional about hep C
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Currently, there is no information about whether people with hepatitis C are at increased risk for getting COVID-19 or having severe COVID-19. However, based on available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, lung disease, or chronic liver disease, might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, particularly if the underlying medical conditions are not well controlled.
Most people with acute or chronic hepatitis C do not have any symptoms, but if they do appear, they are usually 1 or more of the following:
There are options for getting tested for hepatitis C. You may ask your healthcare professional, or if you don’t have one, you can find one using the
tool. Some locations also offer free testing for hepatitis C. To find a location near you, visit
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans are required to cover hepatitis C testing. This means you may be able to get tested at no cost to you. Talk to your insurance provider to learn more. Some locations also offer free testing for hepatitis C. To find a location near you, visit
There are at-home tests that allow you to test for hepatitis C antibodies at a cost, and may be FSA/HSA-eligible. It’s important to review your results with your healthcare professional. If you don’t have a healthcare professional, you can find one who can properly diagnose and treat hepatitis C
Yes. Not only can patients with hep C be treated, but they can also be cured. “Cured” means that HCV is not detectable in your blood months after treatment has ended. Relapse or reinfection is still possible, and you can still have liver disease even after you have been cured, so stay in contact with your healthcare professional.
Years ago, hep C treatments took a long time and required injections. Today’s treatments are all oral and can be completed in as few as 8–24 weeks.
Treatments for hep C have changed in recent years. Many treatments have high cure rates of 95% or higher.
A variety of resources are available to help make hep C treatments affordable. If you have health insurance, call your insurance company to have them explain your benefits and coverage for hep C treatments. There is
even if you don't have insurance, or need help with your co-pays, or if you have been denied treatment coverage.
Hep C treatments are prescription medicines approved by the FDA and are rigorously tested for safety and efficacy. If you decide to seek treatment, talk to your healthcare professional about the benefits and risks of treatment and tell your healthcare professional about all the medications you take (including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements) and any health conditions you might have.
There are ways to lessen your risk of getting the hepatitis C virus. Some of these include:
Yes, you can get hep C through sexual contact, although the risk may be low. Research shows that the risk of getting hep C is higher among people who have multiple partners or partners living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). To reduce the risk of spreading hep C, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using latex condoms. Condoms, when used properly, are one way to protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
No, hep C isn't spread by sharing eating utensils, food or drinks, or from shaking or holding hands with someone who has hep C. Hep C is passed from person to person when the blood of a person with hep C enters the body of someone who is not infected.
Some people with hep C use milk thistle as a supplement to conventional medicine. However, the US Food and Drug Administration, which regulates the use of prescription medicines, hasn’t approved alternative medicine for the treatment of hep C. Talk to your healthcare professional before starting any treatment, including over-the-counter or herbal products.
No, without testing, it’s not possible to know if someone has the disease. Testing for hep C is available in healthcare professionals' offices and testing centers.
HCV can survive outside the body and on surfaces at room temperature for up to 6 weeks.
Yes. There are 6 main genotypes (genetic variations of each virus’ DNA) of hep C. In the United States, about 74% of people with hep C have genotype 1. Some treatments work against all hep C genotypes, whereas others only work on some genotypes. If you and your healthcare professional determine that treatment is right for you, your genotype and your degree of liver damage will factor into the treatment decision.
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