Viral Hepatitis

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Viral Hepatitis

What Is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver and can be caused by three different viruses: hepatitis A, B and C.

Hepatitis A is a short-term infection and does not lead to cancer.

Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can become long-term infections that can lead to scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Treating Hepatitis

There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B but no vaccine for hepatitis C. However, there are several new therapies against hepatitis C that can remove all hepatitis C virus from a person’s body and cure them of the infection. However, if the person has been infected for a long period of time, there may already be significant liver scarring and even liver cancer.

Hepatitis B is the leading cause of liver cancer worldwide, but in the U.S., hepatitis C is much more common. Both of the viruses are treatable, and a simple blood test can make a diagnosis.

Get screened for hepatitis C if you:

  • Are 18 years of age and older 
  • Are pregnant (get tested during each pregnancy)
  • Currently inject drugs
  • Have HIV
  • Received donated blood or organs before July 1992