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Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus which infects and damages the liver. It affects an estimated 215,000 people in the UK and 130–150 million people globally. It can cause inflammation, fibrosis, weight loss, abdominal pain, and in advanced cases, cirrhosis. The most common modes of transmission are the sharing of needles by intravenous drug users, inadequately sterilised medical equipment, and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.

This briefing summarises the treatment options, and provides a statistical summary of the incidence of the disease in the UK, and globally. It also summarises recent UK government policy on the subject, together with global efforts to eradicate the disease, informed by the World Health Organisation’s Global Strategy on Viral Hepatitis 2016–2021. Part of this strategy is the annual observance of World Hepatitis Day, on 28 July.

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