What is Hepatitis (Hep) B and C?
Hep B and C are both viruses that infect the blood and attack the liver. When the liver is infected it can compromise many of its vital functions like converting food into energy and ridding the body of toxins. There are different types of viral hepatitis: A, B, and C are the most common. We focus our work on Hep B and C, both of which can become chronic and cause serious long-term illness.
For information on Hep A, see the NYC Health Dept page
See our Patient Education Materials page or explore our Resources tab above to learn more.
What do Hep B and Hep C have in common?
- Transmitted through blood (e.g. blood transfusions before 1992, sharing needles and drug use equipment, unsafe tattoos and piercings).
- People infected can live for decades without symptoms, not knowing their liver is being damaged.
- If untreated, Hep B and Hep C can lead to liver cirrhosis, cancer and premature death.
What do I need to know about Hep B?
- 100,000 people are living with Hep B in NYC
- Also transmitted through unprotected sex, and during birth
- Hep B affects primarily immigrant populations from all countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. See a full list of countries and other regions of the world where Hep B is common.
- There is a vaccine to prevent it, provided in 3 doses
- Although there is no cure, Hep B can be treated to slow or prevent liver disease progression
What do I need to know about Hep C?
- 146,500 people are living with Hep C in NYC
- Hep C affects mostly Baby Boomers (people born between 1945-1965), and people who have injected drugs.
- Hep C can be treated and cured
- There is no vaccine for Hep C. Someone who is cured, can get re-infected if they are exposed to infected blood.
How do I know if I have Hep B or Hep C?
- Get tested (Antibody test tells if you had hepatitis in the past, and RNA test tells if you are currently infected)
- Find testing and care programs