What is it?

The Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is a major cause of liver disease. A person can be infected with Hepatitis C for many years without having any symptoms. If left untreated, Hepatitis C can eventually progress to cause serious liver damage.

How common is Hepatitis C?

In Scotland, it is estimated that approximately 37,000 individuals are chronically infected with Hepatitis C ( Hepatitis C in the UK: Annual Report, 2014, Health Protection Agency). However, many people infected with Hepatitis C are completely unaware of it because of the often silent nature of the infection. In fact more than half of those living with Hepatitis C remain undiagnosed and 75% of those chronically infected are not in specialist care. The Scottish Government have responded to this, recognising Hepatitis C as one of the most serious and significant public health concerns of our generation in launching their Hepatitis C Action Plan for Scotland in September 2006, following it up with the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework in 2011.

A family of viruses

Hepatitis C was only identified in 1989, scientists continue to discover more about the virus and how it works.

What most people don't realise is that Hepatitis C is not just one virus. There are many different strains of Hepatitis C. These have been grouped into 6 categories know as genotypes 1 to 6. Finding out which genotype you have is important for treatment.

 

Hepatitis C Scotland

http://www.hepcscotland.co.uk

© Health Protection Scotland