Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus. The virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment, needlestick injuries in healthcare, and transfusions. Acute Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is usually asymptomatic, and is only very rarely associated with life-threatening disease. About 15–45% of infected persons spontaneously clear the virus within 6 months of infection without any treatment. The remaining 55–85% of persons will develop chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Of those with chronic HCV infection, the risk of cirrhosis of the liver is between 15–30% within 20 years.