Hepatitis C is a viral infection that can damage your liver. If left untreated, it can cause serious complications, including liver failure. But in most cases, proper treatment can cure the infection.

If you receive a hepatitis C diagnosis, it’s important to get help from a qualified healthcare professional. A hepatitis C specialist can help you understand and weigh your treatment options. They can also help you manage potential side effects of treatment.

Here are tips to help you find a doctor to meet your treatment needs.

Many primary care doctors don’t treat hepatitis C. Instead, your primary care doctor or local community health center can refer you to a specialist who is an expert on this disease.

There are several types of specialists who can treat hepatitis C, including:

  • Hepatologists: These doctors focus on diagnosing and treating diseases that affect the liver.
  • Gastroenterologists: These doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases that affect the digestive system, including the liver.
  • Infectious disease specialists: These healthcare professionals have expertise in managing viral infections, such as hepatitis C.
  • Nurse practitioners: These registered nurses may specialize in treating people with liver conditions.

To find a specialist in your area, consider using the American Medical Association’s DoctorFinder database.

If you have friends or family members undergoing treatment for hepatitis C or other types of liver disease, consider asking them for recommendations. Based on their experiences, they might encourage you to visit one specialist or avoid another.

You can also find patient reviews of doctors and other healthcare professionals online through services like Healthgrades. Remember that websites offering doctor reviews aren’t necessarily vetted and often anyone can post reviews. Even so, you may find it helpful if you notice a specialist with glowing reviews.

Patient support groups, online discussion boards, and social media platforms also allow people with hepatitis C to connect and discuss their experiences with different specialists.

If you have health insurance, your insurance company will have a list of specialists in your area that treat hepatitis C.

In most cases, it’s less expensive to visit a specialist in your network of coverage. It’s important to learn which specialists and services are covered by your plan. If you visit an out-of-network specialist, you may have to pay more.

To learn if a specialist is covered by your insurance plan, contact your insurance provider. They can help you learn how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket to visit the specialist.

It’s also a good idea to contact the specialist’s office to ask if they still accept your insurance.

Before you visit a new specialist, consider checking their credentials.

To learn if a doctor is licensed to practice in your state, visit DocInfo.org. This database provides information about doctors’ education, certifications, and medical licenses. It also provides a public record of disciplinary action that a doctor might have faced from licensing boards.

Medical expertise is important — but it’s not the only thing that matters when providing medical care. It’s also important to find a specialist whose demeanor and attitude match your needs and preferences.

Do you feel comfortable talking with the specialist about your health needs? Do they listen to your questions and concerns? Do they share information in a way you can understand? Do they treat you with consideration and respect?

If you’re not comfortable with your specialist or their recommended treatment plan, it may be time to find another doctor. The more effectively you can communicate with your doctor, the easier it will be for you to work together to treat hepatitis C.

Can a regular doctor treat hep C?

Yes. It’s possible for a primary care healthcare professional to treat hepatitis C. If the hepatitis C is acute or from a recent exposure, a primary care doctor may prescribe medication to treat the infection.

If an individual has had hepatitis C for a longer period of time and it has injured the liver, they will likely need to see a specialist.

What kind of doctor do you see if you have hepatitis?

These doctors may treat an individual who has hepatitis C:

  • hepatologist
  • gastroenterologist
  • infectious disease specialist

Can you “cure” hepatitis C?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), medications called direct-acting antiviral medications (DAAs) may “cure” more than 95% of people with hepatitis C.

If you have hepatitis C, you may need treatment from a hepatologist, gastroenterologist, infectious disease specialist, or nurse practitioner who focuses on liver disease. Ask your primary care doctor or local community health center for a referral to a specialist in your area.

You can also learn more about specialists by talking with friends or family members, contacting your insurance company, or searching for local specialists using online databases.