Everyone ages 18 to 79 needs to get tested for hepatitis C at least once. Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The most common way to get hepatitis C is by coming into contact with the blood of someone who has it. In the United States, people usually get hepatitis C by sharing needles.
Many people who have hepatitis C live for years without feeling sick. But the virus can still damage your liver — even when it’s not causing any symptoms. You could also spread the virus to others without knowing it.
The only way to know for sure if you have hepatitis C is to get a blood test. Medicine can cure most cases of hepatitis C.
What about cost?
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans must cover hepatitis C testing for certain groups. That means you may be able to get tested at no cost to you. Talk to your insurance company to find out more.
What do I ask the doctor?
When you visit the doctor, it helps to have questions written down ahead of time. You can also ask a family member or friend to go with you to take notes.
Print this list of questions and take it to your next appointment.
- Do I need to get tested for hepatitis C?
- What puts me at risk for hepatitis C?
- How will you test me for hepatitis C?
- How long will it take to get my test results?
- How will I find out my test results?
- If I have hepatitis C, what will happen next?
- Can you give me some information about hepatitis C to take home with me?
Content last updated May 10, 2022
This information on hepatitis C was adapted primarily from materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cynthia Jorgensen, DrPH
Team Lead, Education and Training
Division of Viral Hepatitis
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention