Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus: the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.
The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus and the most common modes of infection are through unsafe injection practices, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
Globally, between 130–150 million people globally have chronic hepatitis C infection.
A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Approximately 700 000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver diseases 1.
Antiviral medicines can cure approximately 90% of persons with hepatitis C infection, thereby reducing the risk of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis, but access to diagnosis and treatment is low.
There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C; however research in this area is ongoing.