Understanding Hep C

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What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C (hep C) is a liver disease caused by the hep C virus. Hep C can arrive in your liver like an uninvited guest and cause inflammation, which can lead to liver damage. Most people with hep C don’t have any symptoms. That means you may have it and not know you have it.

Hep C is caused by the hep C virus (HCV) Icon.

is caused by the hep C virus (HCV)

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spreads when the blood from a person infected with the hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected

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begins as an acute infection (lasting less than 6 months)

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becomes chronic (long-lasting) in more than half of people who become infected

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often doesn't present any symptoms, but can lead to serious health complications

Hep C can be cured Icon.

can be cured

Chronic inflammation can lead to fibrosis, which is the first stage of liver scarring.

Once you have hepatitis C, the virus constantly replicates, making copies of itself ABOUT A TRILLION TIMES EVERY DAY.

Hep C virus replication Icon.

The new copies of the virus continue to attack the liver cells, causing inflammation which can lead to scarring, liver damage, cirrhosis, and potentially even liver cancer.

Liver with Fibrosis Liver with Fibrosis Liver with Fibrosis

(liver scaring)

over time,
can lead to

Liver with Cirrhosis Liver with Cirrhosis Liver with Cirrhosis

(more scar tissue
than liver tissue)

Is Hep C getting comfortable in your liver?

Hep C fact Hep C fact Hep C fact

The hep C virus can multiply in the liver about a trillion times a day.

Why is the liver

The liver is the second largest organ in the body and carries out many functions to help keep you healthy. The liver’s main function is to clean your blood of toxins by producing bile to break down fat into energy. In hep C, liver scarring (fibrosis) can prevent the liver from doing its job.

Liver inside the body Liver inside the body Liver inside the body

The liver is about the size of a football, reddish in color, and located below your lungs, above your stomach.

What are the stages of

liver damage?

There are different stages of liver fibrosis, each of which can be described with a fibrosis score. Your healthcare professional uses this score to determine how much liver scarring you have, based on several factors. Ask your healthcare professional any questions you may have about your fibrosis score.

Tap through the following graphic to see the different stages of fibrosis from F0 (no fibrosis) to F4 (cirrhosis).


No fibrosis

Liver inflammation may be present


Mild Fibrosis

Scar tissue is present


Moderate Fibrosis

Scar tissue starts to connect


Severe Fibrosis

Scar tissue has spread to the point where structure is affected



The liver is taken over by scar tissue and may not be able to do its job

In people with
hepatitis C


will develop cirrhosis
within 10-20 years

up to

with cirrhosis will develop
liver cancer with each passing year

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Talk to your healthcare
professional about hep C

Be prepared to help guide
the conversation.

Start here
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What are the
symptoms of hep C?

What to look for before
a diagnosis.

Find out