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Hepatitis C

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Diagnosis

Healthcare providers can diagnose hepatitis C with a blood test.

If you are diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C, your healthcare provider may advise you to have a liver biopsy to find out if you have chronic liver disease. Unfortunately, by the time a healthcare provider diagnoses serious liver disease, liver damage can be considerable and even irreversible. This damage often results in cirrhosis (severe liver disease) or liver cancer.

The symptoms of liver damage may not appear for several years. Therefore, it is important for people at high risk of infection to be tested for hepatitis C so they can start treatment as early as possible. High-risk groups include:

  • People who had transfusions of blood or blood products before routine blood screening began
  • People receiving dialysis
  • People who may have had intimate contact with anyone infected with hepatitis C
  • Healthcare workers exposed to infected¬†people
  • Current or former injection-drug users
  • People with abnormal liver tests
  • People who are HIV positive

Last Updated October 01, 2009