Hepatitis refers to inflammation and damage to the liver. The most common causes of hepatitis are three viruses known as hepatitis A, B, and C. DNA Access offers testing for hepatitis B and C.
Hepatitis B is a major global health problem that can cause both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) disease.
Hepatitis C causes acute (short-term) infections in some individuals, but in most individuals, the virus remains in the body causing serious chronic (long-term) infection.
Hepatitis C is usually transmitted through exposure to blood from an infected individual. The most common way that HCV is transmitted is through sharing needles. Other potential sources of infection include at birth (~6% of infants of infected mothers), sexual intercourse (rare but more common in men who have sex with men), healthcare exposures, blood transfusions, and organ transplants (now very uncommon), unregulated tattoos or body piercings, and sharing personal items that have been in contact with infected blood (e.g. glucose monitors, razors).