About hep C

Could you be one of the thousands of New Zealanders who are living with hep C?

What is Hepatitis C?


When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. The liver performs many vital functions, including removal of waste products, controlling bleeding, digesting food and storing energy.

Hepatitis C (hep C) is inflammation of the liver that results from infection with the hep C virus.

Hep C can be spread through blood-to-blood contact. This is when blood from a person with hep C comes into contact with another person’s blood.

Who is at Risk of Hepatitis C?

Infection can occur if you’ve been tattooed or had a body piercing with unsterile equipment, if you had a blood transfusion in New Zealand before 1992 or, if you’ve shared needles for injecting drugs – even once. However, hep C can be transmitted in many other ways too and it’s common for people not to notice any symptoms.

Many people with hep C do not have symptoms and therefore don’t know they are infected. If symptoms occur, they may be non-specific and can include feeling tired, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle aches, fever, jaundice (yellow colour in the skin or eyes) and depression. Because most people who live with hep C have no symptoms and are not aware that they are infected, over many years the virus can cause damage to the liver which can lead to serious health problems.

The only way to know if you have hep C is to get tested.

See your healthcare professional to get tested. This will usually be a hep C antibody test, which can tell if you’ve ever been infected with the virus. If this test is positive, a hep C virus RNA test will tell if you have a current infection and need treatment.

It is important to follow up with your healthcare professional about these tests after they are performed.

The AbbVie hep C information website tells you more about hep C, how and where you can get tested, and has a checklist you can complete and take to your doctor or other healthcare professional if you think you have any of the risk factors or symptoms.

» Learn more about hep C

The good news

98% of people who take MAVIRET as directed and who are new to treatment can expect to be cured* of their hepatitis C (hep C), meaning that the hep C virus has been cleared from the body.

† MAVIRET is a prescription medicine used to treat adults and adolescents 12 years and older with chronic (long-lasting) hepatitis C virus.
*Cure means the hep C virus is not found in the blood 3 months after treatment ends.