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What are the types of hepatitis C infection?

There are six types of hepatitis C virus, which all have different genotypes (the genetic structure or makeup of living organisms). The six different genotypes are numbered in the order of their discovery, and each has many subtypes, lettered in the order they were discovered. It is important to find out which hepatitis C genotype you have, because it determines the type and the length of treatment that is best for you, and helps predict the likelihood of effectively treating HCV. In Canada, the genotype subtype 1a (which 48% of HCV-infected people have) is the most common. Most patients with HCV are found to have only one principal genotype, rather than multiple genotypes. Once identified, it need not be tested again. Genotypes do not change over time.

Canada Genotype Prevalence (%)

Your hepatitis C genotype does not determine disease progression but does help determine the type and length of treatment, and also helps predict the likelihood of effectively treating your HCV.

Genotype generally has not been found to play a role in the progression of liver disease caused by HCV. Rather, for doctors, knowing their patient’s hepatitis C genotype is helpful in making a drug-treatment recommendation, as some therapies fight certain HCV genotypes better than others.