Hepatitis C

Overview

  • Populations at risk include: people with any history of injecting drug use; people with a prison history; people born in hepatitis C virus (HCV) endemic countries and regions; people who received blood products before 1990 or in developing countries; people who engage in condomless anal sex with a partner with HCV infection, people who participate in group sex and current HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use (See Hepatitis Australia - hepatitisaustralia.com).
  • Hepatitis C may cause acute hepatitis (uncommon) or chronic hepatitis C (longer than 6 months; 75%) or may spontaneously clear (25%).
  • Disease progression is usually slow but may cause cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma.
  • Disease progression can be affected by age at infection, duration of infection, alcohol and other drug use, co-infection with HIV or hepatitis B virus (HBV), male gender, stage of fibrosis and higher alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, other comorbid conditions e.g. diabetes.
  • Almost all patients can be successfully treated with direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy.
  • Ensure your patient uses new equipment if they continue to inject drugs.