Hepatitis C guide

Hepatitis C treatment

Is there a cure or treatment for hepatitis C?

Once you've been tested and diagnosed with hepatitis C, it can't be cured... but, in some cases, it clears the body without treatment. For most people, however, treatment by a liver or infectious disease specialist is recommended to manage the virus and avoid developing complications. If you have hepatitis C, we further recommend that you get vaccinated for hepatitis A and hepatitis B as precautionary measures (there is no vaccine for hepatitis C)...pneumonia, influenza and other routine vaccines are also recommended (including diptheria and tetanus).

Acute hepatitis C

If you have an acute (short-term) hepatitis C infection, depending on the severity of your symptoms, no treatment may be necessary. Be sure to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, eat a healthy diet, and avoid alcohol, sedatives and painkillers. You'll also need to be re-tested to confirm that the virus is inactive in your body...and you'll want to see a doctor for managing the infection and follow-up testing.

Chronic hepatitis C

If you've been diagnosed with chronic (long-term) hepatitis C infection, antiviral medications can slow the effects of liver damage...and if your liver is seriously damaged, getting a liver transplant may be an option.

Pregnancy and treatment

There's a low risk that pregnant women with hepatitis C may transmit the virus to their babies... but if you're pregnant and concerned about hepatitis C, consult your regular doctor about the risks involved, and to identify a treatment that's best for you and your baby.

Last reviewed by Lisa Oldson, MD, November 2011.

Lisa Oldson, MD

STD expert

"The first thing I tell a patient about STDs is that if you're worried about one STD, you should probably worry about all STDs. In other words, if you had unprotected sex and you're worried about a possible HIV exposure, it's important to understand that hepatitis can be spread in the same fashion...ditto for chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and syphilis."