Treatment Options

Getting treated

If you have Hep C, you should know that there are treatments for this serious disease. For many people, Hep C can be treated with a number of new antiviral medications, referred to as direct-acting antivirals. You can learn more about antiviral treatment options below, and talk to your doctor about getting started on treatment. And remember, even after you’ve been treated you can be reinfected with Hep C, so it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself.

Out of the people who develop chronic Hep C:



60–70%

will develop chronic
liver disease


Up to 20%

will get cirrhosis


1–5%

will die from liver cancer
or cirrhosis


Do you think you are at risk for Hep C? Review the risk factors to find out if you should be tested.

Today’s treatment options

Until a few years ago, there were only two drugs available for Hep C treatment, but recently, many more options have become available for Hep C. These advances in the number and types of medications available to treat Hep C give you and your doctor more options, and more factors, to consider when deciding on a treatment plan. Recent medications for Hep C belong to a class of drugs called direct-acting antivirals. These drugs are taken orally, and are sometimes used in combination with older treatment options.

The length of time you are on treatment will depend on a number of factors, including the medication your doctor has prescribed, the genotype of Hep C that you have, and how you respond to treatment.

In addition to medication, your treatment plan will involve lifestyle changes to help reduce the risk of transmitting Hep C and to prevent further damage and help your liver be as healthy as possible.

Hep C prevention

Even after you’ve been treated, you can be reinfected with Hep C, so it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself.

The precautions required to help prevent transmission are largely straightforward and involve being aware of anything that may have come into contact with your blood, such as:

  • Things that can cut you (e.g., razors, cooking utensils)
  • Anything that your blood comes into contact with (e.g., tissues, toothbrushes)
  • Anything inserted in your skin (e.g., body piercings, needles)

If you have Hep C and your blood comes into contact with anything, it’s best to properly clean and thoroughly disinfect the item with bleach or properly dispose of the object before it comes into contact with anyone else. Cover any open sores, wear protective gloves, and do not donate blood, tissue or sperm. Inform your sexual partner and speak to your doctor.

It’s important to know that Hep C cannot be spread through close contact such as touching, hugging or kissing. Nor is it spread by coughing, sneezing, or through food or water.

An accurate diagnosis is the first step in learning to effectively treat Hep C. The sooner Hep C is treated, the less damaging the virus can be. Speak to your doctor.

Hep C prevention is mostly straightforward and involves being aware of anything that may come into contact with your blood. It is important to consider taking steps to prevent passing on the Hep C virus to others. Here are some ways to prevent spreading or contracting Hep C:

  • Do not touch or handle blood without wearing gloves.
  • Do not donate blood, organs, tissue or sperm.
  • Do not share personal hygiene items, like razors, scissors, toothbrushes or nail cutters.
  • Do not share or reuse needles or other drug equipment.
  • Clean up any blood spills with bleach.
  • Advise health professionals.
  • Inform your sexual partner(s) and always practice safer sex.
  • Cover any open sores or breaks in the skin.
  • Ensure tattoo, piercing, manicure, pedicure, electrolysis or acupuncture equipment is properly sterilized.

Hep C is curable. Learn about your treatment options so you can start living the cured years.