Hepatitis C

What you need to know

Hepatitis C is a virus that can infect and damage the liver. The virus is most commonly spread through contact with the blood of an infected person usually through the sharing of needles. Less commonly Hepatitis C can be spread through unprotected sex or exposure to infected body fluids.

Signs and symptoms

Many people do not experience any symptoms when they first catch hepatitis C.

You might experience mild flu-like symptoms including loss of appetite, nausea, joint pains and tiredness a few weeks after becoming infected.

Some people with hepatitis C will not develop liver problems and will stay well throughout their lives. Others may develop chronic (long-term) hepatitis C and will have the symptoms of a damaged liver including nausea, ongoing tiredness, vomiting, unexplained weight loss and jaundice (yellow skin). If this is not treated it will eventually lead to life threatening liver failure.

Other STIs

find out where to go for testing and treatment

Testing and treatment

A blood test is used to diagnose Hepatitis C. If you would like to be tested, you can either visit the King’s Sexual Health Clinic at Beckenham Beacon, or you are eligible for an online test which includes Hepatitis C if you are a man who has sex with men. You can find the Sexual Health Clinic details here  or order your home testing kit here.

If you are found to have hepatitis C, you will be referred to a liver specialist. There are increasingly effective treatments available, and in many people the virus can be cleared, i.e. the infection cured. It is important to detect the virus before it does any damage to the liver.

Find out more about self-testing and order a postal kit

Use the service finder to find a testing service near you