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Fast Facts About Hepatitis C in Canada

Spring 2011

Fast Facts About Hepatitis C in Canada

500+: The number of functions the liver performs. It helps fight infection, cleans toxins from the blood, manufactures proteins, controls blood sugar, clots blood and produces bile.1

The liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself. This makes it possible for one person to donate part of their liver to another person.

When a portion of the liver is transplanted, the donor's liver regenerates back to its original size while the transplanted portion grows to the appropriate size for the recipient.1

Hepatitis C is a chronic liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV).

70-80: The estimated percentage of people newly infected with hepatitis C who have no symptoms.2

15-25: The percentage of people with hepatitis C who clear the virus from their bodies without treatment.2

75-85: The percentage of people whose hepatitis C infection becomes chronic.2 Chronic hepatitis C can eventually lead to liver damage, liver cancer and the need for a liver transplant.

50-80: Percent of the time hepatitis C treatment works and clears the virus.2

3: The estimated percentage of people worldwide infected with hepatitis C.3

0.78: The estimated percentage of Canadians living with hepatitis C in 2007.4

7,945: The estimated number of Canadians newly infected with hepatitis C in 2007.4

4: The percentage of infants born to mothers with hepatitis C who become infected. The risk is higher if the mother has both HIV and hepatitis C.2

21: The estimated percentage of Canadians with hepatitis C who don't know they are infected.4

83: The percentage of new hepatitis C infections in Canada attributed to injection drug use.4

25: The percentage of federal prisoners infected with hepatitis C.5


  1. Canadian Liver Foundation.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. "Hepatitis C information for the public."
  3. World Health Organization. Hepatitis C virus.
  4. Remis R. Modelling the incidence and prevalence of hepatitis C infection and its sequelae in Canada, 2007. Community Acquired Infections Division, Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control, Infectious Disease and Emergency Preparedness Branch. Public Health Agency of Canada. 2007.
  5. John Howard Society. Harm reduction and prisoners: Mitigating risk and improving health.

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This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. It is a part of the publication Prevention in Focus: Spotlight on Programming and Research. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
See Also
Talk to a Physician About HIV/Hepatitis Coinfection in Our "Ask the Experts" Forums
More on Hepatitis C


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