Hepatitis can be acute or chronic.

Acute hepatitis means the virus might make you sick for a short time but then you will recover. Some people may experience symptoms, but most people do not get seriously ill during acute hepatitis infection except for hepatitis A, which is less common in Australia. Most people recover from this illness within a few weeks with no lasting effects.

Chronic hepatitis means the virus stays in your liver for your whole life. You may not always feel sick, but over time the virus can hurt your liver without you being aware and prevent it from working properly. As more liver cells are damaged and destroyed, scar tissue takes their place. This is known as fibrosis. Severe fibrosis can cause the liver to harden, preventing it from functioning as it should. This is called cirrhosis of the liver. In a small number of cases, serious damage to the liver can lead to liver failure and, ultimately, liver cancer.

Liver check-ups: easy, painless and lifesaving.

Without treatment, both hepatitis B and hepatitis C risk causing cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer. Even if you feel well, you may need treatment.

A liver check-up usually starts with blood tests to measure how well your liver is working. The next stage is a Fibroscan® or a liver ultrasound.

These liver test results enable your GP or specialist to decide the most effective treatment to slow down and reverse liver damage. You may also be encouraged to have a regular liver check-up every three, six or twelve months to keep track of your liver’s health.

Hepatitis B liver monitoring video

Hepatitis C guide to healthy living

Page updated 28 August 2020