HCV Facts

What IS Hepatitis C virus?

Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for 70%–85% of people who become infected with the hepatitis C virus, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, even death. Many people might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.

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  • New therapies for HCV are tantamount to a cure in most infected individuals with the virus and are extremely safe and tolerable to most patients.
  • There is no vaccine for HCV, BUT THERE IS A CURE!
  • The Hepatitis C Crisis — it is the most common, chronic blood-borne viral infection in the U.S.
  • Globally, an estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
  • In 2016, there were an estimated 2.4 million people living with hepatitis C in the United States.
  • In 2017, a total of 3,216 cases of acute hepatitis C were reported to CDC. Since many people may not have symptoms or don’t know they are infected, their illness is often not diagnosed or reported and therefore can’t be counted. CDC estimates the actual number of acute hepatitis C cases was closer to 44,700 in 2017.
  • If you have been infected with HCV and have cleared the virus, or have been successfully treated and cured, you can be re-infected with the hepatitis C virus. Additionally, you will ALWAYS test positive for HCV antibodies because of exposure, clearance, or cure.
  • 399,000 people died in 2016 from hepatitis C-related liver diseases, around 17,000 in the US.
  • At least half of infected individuals are unaware of their status.
  • Up to 85% of people infected with HCV will develop chronic infection.
  • As many as 20% of infected individuals will develop cirrhosis, a serious liver condition.
  • Up to 5% of infected individuals will develop liver cancer.
  • There is a simple blood test for HCV—early detection helps halt spread of the disease and saves lives.