Hepatitis C is a blood borne viral infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), it affects the liver, causing it to become inflamed and not work as effectively in the body.
It primarily affects the liver and is a major cause of liver disease and cancer worldwide.It can cause swelling and scarring of the liver and serious liver damage. It can also cause other health problems such as constant tiredness and joint pains. It is estimated that between 20,000-30,000 people are living with Hep C in Ireland with 600-700 new cases diagnosed every year. In the region of 71 million people worldwide are living with chronic Hepatitis C.
There is currently no effective vaccine against hepatitis C; however, research in this area is ongoing. Antiviral medicines available Free in Ireland can CURE more than 95% of persons living with Hepatitis C.
The only way to find out if you have been exposed to the virus is to have two tests performed at your local drug treatment clinic, GP practice, Hospital or sexual health clinic.