Different treatment routes may be taken depending on the stage of your infection. If the infection has been discovered in the early stages, known as acute hepatitis, you may not need to begin treatment straight away.
Instead, you may be given another blood test a few months after your first diagnosis to see if your body was able to fight off the virus. However, if after several months, you are still testing positive for Hep C, known as chronic hepatitis, treatment will usually have to begin.
If you have received a positive result for Hepatitis C, treatment will include:
• Taking tablets to fight the virus
• A test to see if your liver is damaged
• Changes in your lifestyle to help prevent further damage
Very few people have side effects from Hepatitis C treatment.
There is also a chance that you will be infected by more than one genotype. Throughout the treatment you will have regular blood tests to make sure that the medicine is working and if it is not, you will be advised on what other medicine to try, however this is very uncommon.
This will be done either by a blood test or a scan. When you have completed your treatment, a blood test will be taken to see if the virus is gone and a second blood test will be taken 12 or 24 weeks after treatment to make sure the virus has been eliminated. If both these tests come back negative for signs of the virus, the treatment will have been successful and you will have achieved a sustained viral response (SVR).
Medicine called direct acting antiviral (DAA) tablets is used to treat Hep C. This is the safest and the most effective medicine to use in the treatment of Hep C with a 90% success rate for clearing the infection. You will be told to take the tablets for 8 to 12 weeks the length of your treatment will depend on what type of Hep C you have. The type of Hep C you have will also determine what type of DAA you take, along with if you will have to take more than 1 type of DAA.
The NHS has a wide array of approved Hep C medicines, these include:
See a list of centres which can offer treatment for Hepatitis C below. If you do not want to attend a drug and alcohol service, testing and treatment can also take place at GPs and Sexual Health Clinics. You can find a list of these on the nhs.uk website (England), the NHS Direct Wales website (Wales), the NHS Inform website (Scotland) and HSCNI Online website (Northern Ireland).
Click here to see the full list