Most people who have hepatitis C have no symptoms for years or even decades. This is why it is so important to get tested if there's a chance you have been in contact with hepatitis C. Watch our video to find out more:
Immediately after infection
Some people may feel briefly unwell when they become infected and in rare cases they may become jaundiced, which means a yellowing of the skin and eyes. About 3 in 4 people who become infected will develop chronic (long-term) infection.
Long-term (chronic) infection
Chronic hepatitis C infection can affect people in a variety of ways:
- Some people remain well throughout their life and will not develop liver damage
- Some people only develop mild to moderate liver damage, with or without symptoms – symptoms can include fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, alcohol intolerance and pain around the liver
- About 1 in 5 people will go on to develop severe liver damage (cirrhosis)
- In some people, severe liver damage can lead to primary liver cancer or complete liver failure, and the need for a liver transplant
Those with long-term (chronic) hepatitis C infection can be referred to a specialist for assessment for treatment and can make changes to their lifestyle to help prevent damage to the liver. See Living with hepatitis C for more information.