It's estimated around 215,000 people in the UK have hepatitis C.
You can become infected with it if you come into contact with the blood of an infected person.
These include: The risk of getting hepatitis C through sex is very low.However, it may be higher if blood is present, such as menstrual blood or from minor bleeding during anal sex.If the infection is left untreated for many years, some people with hepatitis C will develop scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).Over time, this can cause the liver to stop working properly.Some ways the infection can be spread include: In the UK, most hepatitis C infections occur in people who inject drugs or have injected them in the past.
It's estimated around half of those who inject drugs have the infection. Seek medical advice if you have persistent symptoms of hepatitis C or there's a risk you're infected, even if you don't have any symptoms.
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Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent or limit any damage to your liver, as well as help ensure the infection isn't passed on to other people. Hepatitis C can be treated with medicines that stop the virus multiplying inside the body. Up until recently, most people would have taken two main medications called pegylated interferon (a weekly injection) and ribavirin (a capsule or tablet). These new hepatitis C medications have been found to make treatment more effective, are easier to tolerate, and have shorter treatment courses.
They include simeprevir, sofosbuvir and daclatasvir. Using the latest medications, more than 90% of people with hepatitis C may be cured.
However, it's important to be aware that you won't be immune to the infection and should take steps to reduce your risk of becoming infected again.