Hepatitis C

is an inflammation of the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus.

How the infection evolves?

Often, persons with a hepatitis C infection have only few or no symptoms, which are frequently confused with those of a flu.

A hepatitis C infection heals by itself. It becomes chronic in most cases and if it is not treated, it can lead to serious liver damages, like liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.

In the meantime, the disease can be treated successfully using medicine.

WHow to perceive to be infected?

Possible complaints:

  • Exhaustion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Headaches, muscle and joint pain
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Yellowing of the skin and the eyes

The seriousness of the symptoms arising that are the complaints can vary from person to person. Some people do not perceive anything.

There is the possibility that only mild or no symptoms arise, even in a chronic infection.

Routes of transmission

Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact.

Routes of transmission:

  • Blood-to-blood contact
  • Shared use of syringes, needles and tubes etc. for the drug utilization
  • Inappropriate carrying out of tattooing, piercing and ear piercing
  • Shared use of sex toys that contain blood residues
  • Unprotected sexual contacts with injuries of the mucous membrane

How to protect yourself?

There is no vaccination.
Use your own accessories for the drug utilization.

Tattooing, piercing and ear piercing must be realized in hygienic conditions and using sterile material.

The use of condoms or gloves provides the best protection, for example for fisting. Sex toys must be cleaned and disinfected after each use. If possible, you should use condoms.

Examination methods

A blood test can detect an infection with the hepatitis C Virus.


As a rule, a new (acute) hepatitis C infection is not treated.
Since 2014, there is an effective therapy in case of a chronic evolution, which can lead to a complete cure after a comparably short treatment period of 8 to 12 weeks.

When a hepatitis C infection heals, there is no immunity. New contagions are possible.

More recommendations

In the case of infection with hepatitis C, using medicine destined for PrEP to provide protection against an infection with HIV is not permitted.

The advice centres for AIDS/STI of the Departments of Public Health in NRW provide anonymous and free advice about hepatitis A and the opportunities of vaccinations.

Beratungs- & Testangebot

Advice Centre for AIDS-/STI