When you have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, it can feel like you hear a lot of new words.
If you are ever unsure about your care or treatment, or you do not know what some words mean, let your healthcare team know. They will be happy to explain anything you are unsure about.
To find the term you are interested in, scroll through the alphabetical list below.
acute hepatitis C – Refers to the first six months of hepatitis C infection.
antibody test – used to find out if you have ever been exposed to the hepatitis C virus. If you have been cured of the hepatitis C virus, you will always test positive for antibodies.
antibodies – the proteins produced by the immune system to help fight against infections. Even when you have been successfully treated for hepatitis C, antibodies will remain in your bloodstream.
blood-borne virus (BBV) – viruses that some people carry in their blood and can be spread from one person to another. Examples include: hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV.
blood-borne virus (BBV) test – a blood test carried out to find out if you have hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV.
blood-to-blood contact – When someone’s blood gets into the bloodstream of another person, such as through an open wound.
chronic hepatitis C – Refers to a long-term infection. This means the patient has had hepatitis C longer than six months.
cirrhosis – Advanced scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by long-term liver damage. The scar tissue prevents the liver working properly.
combination therapy – When a combination of two or more drugs are used to treat a condition.
compensated cirrhosis – When the liver is scarred but coping with the damage and maintaining its important functions.
decompensated cirrhosis – When the liver is extensively scarred and cannot function properly.
detectable – When the virus is at a level in the blood which can be measured by tests.
direct-acting antiviral (DAA) – medications used to treat hepatitis C. DAA treatments contain a combination of drugs to destroy the virus.
drug-drug interactions (DDI) – These occur when two or more drugs react with each other. They may make the drug less effective or cause an unexpected side effect.
dry blood spot (DBS) test – A quick finger prick test where a small drop of blood is collected on a piece of card and then sent for testing. This type of test is commonly used at drug services and in prison settings.
FibroScan – A simple, painless and non-invasive device, similar to a ultrascan, which helps assess whether there is any scarring or further damage to your liver.
fibrosis – Damage to the liver which occurs when healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue and prevents the liver functioning properly.
genotype – The genetic make-up of a virus. There are six major genotypes, or strains, of hepatitis C virus. The genotype may determine which treatment is used.
hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) – a type of liver cancer that develops from the main liver cells (hepatocytes).
HCV – a shortened way to write ‘hepatitis C virus’.
jaundice – When a person’s skin or the whites of their eyes turn yellow. It can be a sign of liver disease.
liver function test – Blood tests used to help diagnose and monitor liver disease or damage.
PCR test – This test is used to determine whether the hepatitis C virus is present in your bloodstream. A positive test means you are currently infected with the virus. This test is sometimes called an RNA test.
reinfection – When someone who has previously been infected with hepatitis C, and then cured of the virus, is re-exposed to the virus and becomes infected again following blood-to-blood contact.
RNA test – This test is used to find out whether the hepatitis C virus is present in your bloodstream. A positive test means you are currently infected with the virus. This test is sometimes called a PCR test.
sustained virologic response (SVR) – The hepatitis C virus is not detected in the blood 12 weeks or more after completing treatment.
undetectable – When the virus is at a level which is too low to be measured by tests.
viral load – The amount of hepatitis C virus that is detected in someone’s blood.