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  • A GP can usually provide a script for a simple and effective cure.
  • Some people may need to see a specialist doctor if their liver is badly damaged or they have certain other health issues.
  • Anyone with a Medicare card can receive the cure for $41 for each script (2-3 scripts for a full course), or less than $7 per script if you have a concession card.
  • Most people take 1-3 tablets a day for 8-12 weeks, with mild side effects, if any at all.
  • If you have been treated before, you can be treated again.

No. Unlike hepatitis A and hepatitis B, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C. However, hepatitis C is preventable by practicing good blood safety and having in place good systems like regulating tattoo parlors.

About 115,000 people were living with hepatitis C at the end of 2020. In the previous five years the number of people with hepatitis C halved thanks to availability of new cures.

Australia has set itself the target to eliminate the hepatitis C virus as a public health threat by 2030 and could be the first country in the world to do so!

There are several reasons why people are still living with hepatitis C, including:

  • The cure only became available to most Australians in 2016.
  • They might not know they have hepatitis C – often the symptoms of hepatitis C aren’t obvious until a person’s liver is already very damaged. This can take many years.
  • They may have been told it was incurable – many people were diagnosed with hepatitis C (sometimes called non-A, non-B hepatitis) before much was known about it. They may have been told at the time there was nothing they could do.
  • They may be scared of treatment - in the past, Interferon treatment had terrible side-effects. Modern treatments are much more tolerable and many people have no side effects at all.
  • They may be worried about stigma – unfortunately many people have experienced stigma and discrimination because they live with hepatitis C. This can stop them reaching out for support.

All of these are reasons why this national campaign is so important.

People with hepatitis C often do not have any symptoms until their liver is already very damaged.

People often dismiss symptoms as just part of getting older. While many people are asymptomatic and can have it for a long time without knowing, common symptoms include:

  • Feeling tired and sleep problems
  • Aches, pain and fever
  • Mood swings, anxiety and depression
  • Feeling sick, poor appetite and indigestion
  • Skin rashes and itchy skin
  • Dry eyes
  • Mouth ulcers

The only way to know if you have hepatitis C is to have a blood test. If you think you could have hepatitis C ask your GP to test for it as part of a regular health check.

Many of the hepatitis C symptoms can be attributed to other health problems. That’s why it’s important to be aware of, OR talk to a GP about risk factors to decide if you should be tested.

You can get hepatitis C if your blood comes into contact with infected blood. Some of the ways this can happen include:

  • Tattooing or body piercing with unsterile equipment, including getting tattoos overseas
  • Using unsterile needles, syringes and injecting equipment
  • Medical procedures overseas
  • Blood transfusions in Australia before 1990
  • Sharing toothbrushes, razors or nail files

You cannot get hepatitis C through casual contact such as hugging, kissing or sharing food. 

The risk of catching hepatitis C through sex is so low that it is not classed as a sexually transmissible infection (STI).

The only way to know if you have hepatitis C is to have a blood test. Hepatitis C is not generally tested for on routine blood tests. If you think you may be at risk of having hepatitis C you can ask your GP to test for it.

Talk about it! Many people don’t know that hepatitis C can be cured or that they could be living with the virus.

By sharing information about the campaign with your friends, family, colleagues or clients you can help people access testing and treatment.